Follow Your Happy, Healthy Heart


Heart-Health.jpgIt’s the month of flowers, chocolates and valentines.  Heart-shaped cookies and cards fill the store shelves in celebration of loving relationships. Have you thought about your relationship with your own heart? What is your heart telling you?

Did you know that your heart beats about 100,000 times every day?  It’s working hard daily to keep you healthy and strong. What are you doing for it?  

It’s a fact that heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. But, did you know that many of these deaths may be preventable via some simple, heart-healthy lifestyle add-ins? Many people think that optimal heart health is only about eating right and exercise, but you might be surprised to know that many of the things we  think and feel also affect our heart’s health.

Here are a couple of simple add-ins to help make your heart happy...

1.    Eat a rainbow daily
The flavonoids in vegetables and fruits act as antioxidants and reduce the risk of inflammation and disease.  Eat a variety of colors each day to cover a spectrum of nutrients.

2.    Take 10
One of the biggest obstacles with regular exercise is time.  Even if you can’t fit 30 minutes into your routine, break time down into 10 minute movement segments.  All of those extra little activities throughout the day can add-up; take the stairs instead of the elevator, park the farthest from the door, take a walk at lunch, stretch mid morning and mid afternoon, etc. With regular movement breaks, you will be better able to focus and deal with stress.

3.    Gone fishing
Did you know that wild caught salmon and sardines are amazing sources of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA) that help your heart by decreasing inflammation.  Omega-3s also help prevent clot formation and help to maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol.  Studies suggest that consuming salmon two times or more each week reduces the risk of coronary heart disease by 30%!

4.    Love
Strong and happy relationships are key to a healthy heart.  Research shows that happily married couples have a lower risk of heart disease and greater incidence rates for living healthier and longer lives. Not married?  No problem.  Having a love for family, friends, community or even a pet helps promote a healthy heart!

5.    Breathe
Taking time to focus on your body and your breath daily can lead to new levels of relaxation. Calming activities, such belly breathing, can relax blood vessels and the heart, resulting in lower blood pressure. To feel results, it is important to develop a habit of practice and be consistent.  This is an art that only requires a handful of minutes each day, resulting in amazing stress reduction and heart strengthening strategies.

So love yourself-up this month and follow your happy, healthy heart!

Stay tuned for our ProEx for Life, Marathon of Healthy Habits Challenge and put some of these heart healthy tips into action!