As our hearts are filled with gratitude for our loved ones this Valentine’s Day season, let’s reflect on how important our heart health is as it allows us the opportunity to feel and experience love. As a result of changes in lifestyle over the last 30 years, heart health is becoming more and more of a concern. According to the CDC, heart disease is now the leading cause of death for both men and women. My focus in this article is to promote increasing physical activity since it is one of the best and most effective ways to reduce the risk of heart disease. As I recently discussed in last month’s Blood Sugar and Inflammation class, those two topics are closely related to the risk of heart disease. Physical activity not only does it’s job by strengthening the heart, which happens to be a muscle, but it also promotes health by helping you regulate your body weight and improve your body’s use of insulin. Being active has been shown to lower blood pressure, improve blood lipid and blood glucose levels, be beneficial for clotting factors, and promote the health of your blood vessels by lowering inflammation. That’s a lot of positive results from such a simple thing as being more physically active! Let the statistics speak for themselves:
- People who are sedentary have the highest rate of heart attack. In the Nurses’ Health Study, women who were physically active 3 hours or more per week (half an hour daily) cut their risk of heart attack in half. (Centers for Disease Control)
- People who don’t get regular physical activity are more likely to gain excess weight. One study showed that an hour of walking daily cut the risk of obesity by 24%. Obesity is a known risk factor for heart disease. (Centers for Disease Control)
- Studies show that doing more than 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate physical activity or an hour of vigorous physical activity every week will reduce your risk of coronary heart disease by about 30% (World Heart Federation)
Now that it’s clear physical activity is necessary to promote heart health… how does someone that has not been physically activity break the sedentary habit and get moving?? As we all know, starting a new habit isn’t always easy. However, focusing on the positive result of lowering our risk of death from heart disease acts as motivation to KEEP MOVING! Here are 5 simple tips from WebMD to help you “stick with it” as you adopt a new lifestyle of being physically active:
- Ban Boredom. Pick a variety of activities that you like. Don’t bore yourself by doing the same thing over and over again.
- Make Playlists. Use music to be your motivation and entertainment. There’s nothing like running or dancing to your favorite music to get your body pumping!
- Commit. You won’t always feel like sticking with it and you’ll find every excuse in the book to avoid exercise. Make the decision ahead of time and ignore the impulse to push it aside… Exercise anyway!
- Socialize. Working out with a friend or joining a new class or group to exercise with is always more fun. It also helps hold you accountable and you’re more likely to show up if someone is counting on you.
- Stay Within Your Budget. Don’t buy expensive equipment or an unreasonable membership unless you know you’ll use them. Guilt is a negative emotion and isn’t usually the best motivator.
Anyone can do it AND it’s never too late to start moving to keep that heart healthy. If muscle or joint pain is something stopping you from moving, call us! We want to help you fight the statistics and start taking charge of your own risk factors. As our slogan at Body Logic clearly states… If you move better, you’ll feel better, and as a result live better!