One might think that getting fit and boosting your heart health means spending hours upon hours at the gym, sweating and getting on machines that look more like torture devices than anything that’s going to help you. Well, I’m here to tell you that’s not true. In fact, reaping the heart-healthy benefits of exercise doesn’t have to take a huge time commitment – nor does it have to be torturous. It can actually be quite fun!
Here are five fitness tips to get your ticker healthy and happy:
- Start with activities you love
Making exercise a part of your daily life could seem like a chore. What about thinking of exercise as having fun and playing games and making it a party of your daily life?! It doesn’t have to be arduous and a trip to the gym. Start with things like walking, playing ball or The wii with the kids, dancing in your living room, bowling and even cleaning the house can count as exercise as long as you’re getting a little out of breath when you’re doing them.
So what do you like to do? Make a list of the active things you do and find a way to make at least one of them a part of your day, every day. Then, after a few months of making those activities habits, try new ones or more traditional workouts like a group exercise class. As you get in the habit of being active and start to get more fit, you might just be amazed and what activities you like.
- Embrace the power of 10
No Gym required! You can get heart-health benefits from just 10-minute bouts of activity! Yes, it’s true. Ten minutes of walking three times a day has been shown to lower blood pressure
more effectively than a longer 30-minute bout of walking
. Something as simple as walking before work, over lunch and after dinner is a fabulous way to squeeze in exercise. You can even run up and down the steps during your work day for 10 minutes three times a day. J
- It’s not just about cardio
When people think of heart-healthy exercise, they generally think of aerobic or cardio activities like jogging. But did you know that strength training (think lifting light weights or doing bodyweight exercises like push-ups and lunges) can improve the health of your ticker, too? When you lift weights at a moderate intensity, you get your heart rate up. This means that you’re working both your muscular system and your cardiovascular system. And when you make your muscles stronger, you make your body stronger, which helps everything. So definitely do some resistance training a few times a week.
- Use exercise to de-stress
plays a critical role in heart health, and exercise is great at kicking stress to the curb. Learn to see exercise not as something that you have
to do, but instead as something you want
to do because it makes you feel good. While most workouts will pump up your feel-good endorphins, workouts like yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi are especially good for de-stressing and improving the mind-body connection. Try ‘em!
- Support your efforts with healthy Nutrition
Working out – as awesome as it is – is only part of the heart-health equation. Eating a nutritious diet
that’s rich in organic fruits & veggies, lean proteins and healthy fats is key to overall health, along with helping to give you the energy you need to power through those workouts and your everyday life.