Happy Heart Health Month! I filmed a quick video on my TOP 6 tips to keep your heart healthy over 50! You may watch my YouTube Video by clicking HERE or read my blog below!
When I was researching ideas to share with you this month I was shocked at the statistics I found on heart disease. Did you know it is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States? Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease.
So it’s good news that February is National Heart Month, since it’s a good time to remind you or inspire you to make some positive lifestyle changes. Here are the top 6 I found to make your heart happy and healthy.
#1. Stop smoking—no ifs, ands, or butts (duh!) I’m not even going to say anything else about this one.
#2. Manage your stress (easier said than done right?). Here are few fun ideas.
- How about Knitting a Scarf? Put your hands to work to help your mind unwind. Engaging in activities such as knitting, sewing, and crocheting can help relieve stress and do your ticker some good (other hobbies also help such as woodworking, painting, jewelry making….)
- Did you know that laughing can lower your stress hormones.. Don’t just LOL in emails or Facebook posts. Laugh out loud in your daily life. Whether you like watching funny movies or cracking jokes with your friends, laughter is good for your heart. According to the AHA, research suggests laughing can lower stress hormones, decrease inflammation in your arteries, and raise your levels of HDL, also known as “good cholesterol.” WOW!
OK here’s a joke for you….Question: Why did the gym close down? It just wasn’t working out!!! I’m terrible at jokes.
- Another tip to manage stress is to Stretch it Out. Yoga or any stretching not only helps your balance, flexibility, and strength. It also helps you relax and relieve stress.
#3. Move it, move it, move it (as if you didn’t think I would say this!). I keep hearing from the experts that “sitting is the new smoking”. So If you find yourself at your desk or sitting for hours on end here are some fun ways to get moving AND help your heart this month.
- Go or a stroll on your lunch break. Just a 30 minute walk is amazing for your physical and mental health.
Let the music move you and get up and dance (like no one is watching of course!)
- Kick your housework up a notch. Put your favorite music on and add some pep to your step while you complete your weekly chores.
- Be a kid! Fitness doesn’t have to be boring. Let your inner child take the lead by enjoying an evening of roller skating, bowling, or laser tag (I’ve never done laser tag before!)
- Try some HIIT or Interval Training. During interval training, you alternate bursts of intense physical activity with bouts of lighter activity. The Mayo Clinic reports that this type of exercise boosts the number of calories you burn and is less stressful on your body than steady state exercise. This month (February) I released 2 heart pumping cardio workout on the Be Healthy Enough Online Exercise Platform – 15 Minute Low Impact HIIT and 15 Minute Cardio and Tone .
- Also a move move move it tip is to· Pump some iron. Aerobic fitness is key to keeping your heart healthy, but it’s not the only type of exercise you should do. It’s also important to include regular strength training sessions in your schedule. The more muscle mass you build, the more calories you burn. That can help you maintain a heart-healthy weight and fitness level. I also have many strength training workouts for us women over 50. Check them all out HERE
#4 How about some Red Wine and Chocolate? (Bet you didn’t think I would say this!) Moderate (again moderate) consumption of alcohol can help raise your levels of HDL, or good cholesterol. It can also help prevent blood clot formation and artery damage. The Mayo Clinic suggests red wine in particular is the better choice. Add some dark chocolate and you have a guilt free dessert that contains heart-healthy flavonoids. These compounds help reduce inflammation and lower your risk of heart disease (oh and over sweetened milk chocolate does not count!). I have one of the best recipes for a flourless chocolate torte that uses dark chocolate. Here is the link to the recipe Flourless Chocolate Torte
#5. Spice it up and skip the salt. According to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine. If the entire U.S. population reduced its average salt intake to just half a teaspoon a day, it would significantly cut the number of people who develop coronary heart disease every year. Instead of reaching for the salt, try using spices such as oregano, cayenne, ginger, thyme, all spice. These all contain concentrated doses of antioxidants which help fight inflammation. Plus, they taste amazing and can liven up any dish. S
#6 Brush your teeth regularly. (I didn’t know this until just recently) Good oral hygiene does more than keep your teeth white and glistening. According to the Cleveland Clinic, some research suggests that the bacteria that cause gum disease can also raise your risk of heart disease. Go see your dentist!!!
That’s it. If you know of a fun Heart Healthy lifestyle change you have made let me know in the comments.
Have a wonderful Heart Month