February 1, 2020
Get Moving, Stay Pumping: American Heart Month
Get moving, stay pumping: February is American Heart MonthSource: The Burgundy Zine
February isn’t just for sweethearts. In fact, it’s American Heart Month, so we ought to show that fist-sized muscular organ powering our bodies as much love as we’re showering our Valentine with.
Staying active is one of the best ways you can show your heart a little love, in addition to maintaining a healthy diet.
“If you don’t exercise at all, a brief walk is a great way to start,” says a Harvard Health article. ” If you do, it’s a good way to add more exercise to your day.”
Exercising temporarily raises heart rate and blood pressure, but individuals who exercise regularly have a lower resting heart rate and lower blood pressure, according to a 2018 Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine review.
Why Is Heart Health Important?
The heart is essentially a human battery. As your heart beats, blood carrying oxygen and nutrients is pumped throughout your body. During this process, unwanted carbon dioxide and waste are also carried away, says National Health Service.
The heart gives the body its all, but what do humans give it in return? Neglect.The Burgundy Zine
“Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide,” says the Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine review. “Among the many risk factors that predispose to CVD development and progression, a sedentary lifestyle, characterized by consistently low levels of physical activity, is now recognized as a leading contributor to poor cardiovascular health.”
Other factors contributing to cardiovascular disease include unhealthy diet, tobacco use, and unhealthy alcohol use, says the World Health Organization.
Get Moving, Stay Pumping
Cardio workouts, like running, swimming, dancing, and hiking, increase your heart and breathing rate, thus exercising your cardiovascular system (hence the name “cardio workouts”).
The American Heart Association recommends engaging in at least two and a half hours of cardio exercise per week, yet the AHA says only one in five adults and adolescents exercise enough to maintain good health.
“Get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both, preferably spread throughout the week,” the AHA adds. “Gain even more benefits by being active at least 300 minutes (five hours) per week.”
Get Moving Indoors
Let’s face it: as wonderful as it is to treat yourself to a date with the elliptical at the gym, the daily hustle-and-bustle of adult life can be one of the biggest demotivators.
Whether you work full time, go to school full time, or have a family that would be lost if you left them alone for an hour to hit the gym, each of us could generate an endless list of deterrents that are distracting us from getting our workout on.
Never fear, there are plenty of cardio workouts you can do from the comfort of your own home without having to shell out cash for home gym equipment.
Jumping jacks, squat jumps, jogging in place, and stair exercises are a few examples Very Well Fit lists for at-home cardio workouts.
You can also turn on your favorite Spotify playlist or workout while binging your favorite TV show if the additional stimulation helps keep you entertained and motivated to workout.
Dancing alongside tutorials on your television or computer is another great way to get moving indoors and it may just leave you with a new hobby.
Plus, you can bust our your new dance moves while you and your date take on the town for Valentine’s Day.
American Heart Month: Join the #OurHearts Movement
“Each February, NHLBI and The Heart Truth® celebrate American Heart Month by motivating Americans to adopt healthy lifestyles to prevent heart disease,” says the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. “That’s why we’re asking you to join the #OurHearts movement – a national initiative to encourage people to be heart healthy together.”
Throughout the month, the NHLBI encourages you to participate in their weekly themes to boost your heart health and raise awareness among your colleagues, friends, and family.
- Week One: Be physically active together
- Week Two: Eat healthier together
- Week Three: Track your heart health stats together
- Week Four: Manage stress, sleep better, and quit smoking together
For even more ways to participate in American Heart Month, keep on reading here.
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