Fitness Ideas to Keep Your Heart Healthy

Did you know that by exercising as few as 30 minutes per day, you can improve your heart health and quality of life? And it doesn’t have to be hardcore, rigorous physical activity – the kind that leaves you drenched in sweat and sore for days. It can be simple, easy-to-incorporate activities like walking your dog, tossing a ball with your child, or dancing with friends. Photo courtesy of the American Heart Association

Los Alamos Medical Center Has Fitness Ideas to Keep Your Heart Healthy

 Submitted by: Los Alamos Medical Center

Does your heart need a personal time out?

You wake up early, start making breakfast and lunches so you can get the kids fed, dressed and to school on time. Follow that with eight, or more, hours at the office, sandwiched between hour-long commutes through jammed highways and interstates. Then you make a beeline home to get the kids to baseball practice and gymnastics, working on homework in the car. Once you finally make it home, there’s still dinner to be made, dishes to be cleaned and baths to be taken.

Sound like your typical day? If so, it may be time to pause, reassess your daily routine, and explore ways to work in a little more “me-time”.

There are many benefits of taking time for yourself. A little alone time can help you recharge, improve your         focus, and manage stress, which is key to maintaining a healthy heart.

If your day sounds like the one we described, squeezing in “me-time” may seem daunting, or even impossible. But we have a few strategies that may help you work in a few extra minutes:

¨ Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier. Whether you choose to sit quietly, have a cup of coffee, or sneak in a quick workout, as little as 30 minutes of quiet time before the rest of the house wakes up should be just enough to reboot and get ready for the day.

¨ Schedule it. Mark 15-20 minutes on your calendar every day for you. During your 15 minutes, you can take a walk, stretch, or just be still.

¨ Ditch the devices. During your 15 minutes each day, forget looking at Facebook or surfing the web. Drop the devices and enjoy some quiet time.

¨ Shut your door. Whether you take your “me-time” at home or at the office, don’t be afraid to shut your door. This will keep your “me-time” from becoming “we-time”.

If your “me-time” fails you, here are a few more ideas:

¨ Take an after-dinner walk, —remember to bundle up!

¨ Sit on the floor and stretch during your favorite primetime shows.

¨ Set a goal to do 100 jumping jacks, 25 pushups, 25 lunges, and 50 sit-ups.

¨ Dust off the X-box or Wii for 30 minutes of dancing, bowling, tennis, guitar hero, or another interactive game.

¨ Play Twister or charades with your family.

The neat thing is that exercise doesn’t have to be “work”. It comes in all shapes and sizes, and

Easy ways to make your workday more active

If there’s one thing that most Americans have in common, it’s that we live sedentary lifestyles. From commuting to work and spending hours behind a computer, to watching TV or surfing the internet after work, health experts have long warned that we simply sit too much.

In fact, medical experts estimate that the average worker sits for about ten hours a day, between work and home. Complicating matters, according to the CDC, only about one in five Americans meet the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity every day. These numbers are alarming as sedentary lifestyles have been proven to lead to a greater risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression and some cancers.

But the good news is there are some easy ways to make your day more active. And since so much of our day is spent at work, sitting down, Hospital has compiled with some simple tips that will help you work more physical activity into your workday:

¨ Stand up to take phone calls.

¨ Hold walking meetings.

¨ Set a timer to remind you to stand up and stretch or take a walk every hour.

¨ Take a 30 minute walk during your lunch hour.

¨ Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

¨ Park a little farther away from the front door.

¨ Consider walking or biking to work, if feasible.

The easiest way to start is to pick one or two of the ideas above, and add them to your daily routine. Once these new behaviors have turned into habits, add another. Overtime, these small changes will add up to big results in terms of your heart health.

Got kids? Great! It’s time to get moving.

Got kids? Then you have a list of reasons to get moving!

¨ Physical activity is a great way to boost heart health.

¨ Engaging in regular physical activity will keep you younger and better able to keep up with your children.

¨ You’ll lead your child to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Children learn by example. If you make exercise part of your routine, chances are they will, too.

¨ Whether it’s taking a walk or tossing a ball, you’ll find new opportunities to bond with your child.

The good news is, creating a more active family lifestyle can be done anytime, anywhere. Family walks after dinner, weekend excursions like hiking or skiing, a trip to the local indoor pool, or just a quick game of pick-up basketball– these are all inexpensive and easy ways to get you and your kids up and moving. 

The bottom line is—get up and get moving. Your heart, and your kids, will thank you!