If you didn’t already know, February is the lovely American Heart Month, a time where we can all focus on our cardiovascular health just a little extra.
Your cardiovascular system’s main purpose is to help tissue(s) get enough oxygen and nutrients, while also removing waste products from these tissues. The heart will pump blood to the lungs and pick up oxygen, which gets distributed to the body so the tissues can function. Without the heart generating this amazingly functioning system, the body will not get the nutrients it needs to survive. If you’d like to refer more to this information, the Better Health Channel website includes additional in-depth knowledge on the heart: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/heart.
Like any activity/action, practice makes progress, therefore in order for your heart to continue to progress, it needs constant practice. Exercise is a great and easy way to get your heart pumping. With busy lives and crazy schedules, it does get challenging to find time to exercise. The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, which to some people may seem a lot. When you think about it on a smaller scale, that would be 30 minutes a day within the span of 5 days. Some might not even have 30 minutes to go exercise, and that’s okay. One misconception about exercise is that many people feel that it needs to be completed in a gym, or that you have to be running, or just view it as not really enjoyable at all. But exercise can be fun without you even realizing it.
Going back to the 30 minutes a day, you might think, “well finding 30 minutes a day is hard”, but not many people think of breaking down those 30 minutes a day into 3. If you make your goals more tangible, they become habits. Take a 10-minute intentional walk in the morning, then on your lunch break take another 10-minute walk, and at the end of the day enjoy one last 10-minute walk. That will easily give you 30 minutes of exercise in a day! It’s all about perspective. My favorite quote will always be “Those who say they can, and those who say they can’t, are both usually right”. You can find time to fit your health into your life, you can achieve your goals, and you can improve your cardiovascular health! There are many other ways to improve your health. Such ways are, but not limited to; taking the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator, parking farther at work or to the store and walking to the entrance, walking instead of driving anywhere you can, joining walking groups, and/or using a bicycle to go to places.
Don’t have a bike to ride and increase physical activity? Head on down to the Lebanon Bicycle Recycle to receive a used bike for free! They will even teach you how to fix your bike and ride if you don’t know how. For more information click the link below! They’re open every Monday night from 6-8 pm at 53 Chestnut Street, Lebanon, PA.
Another great way to get more exercise in your life is by checking out the Lebanon Valley Calendar which is constantly posting different events for your health and wellness! If there’s an interest you can go check it out at this link to find out more ways to get connected and moving in Lebanon, PA.
Other great ways to improve heart health are through nutrition, such as eating more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes which lower your risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. And don’t forget, chocolate can contribute to heart health! Cocoa has been shown to have antioxidants that can increase good cholesterol, lower bad cholesterol, and improve blood clotting function. Just remember to eat in moderation! For more information, check out this link from the American Heart Association: