It’s coming on Valentine’s Day and that’s got us at Body Balance Fitness, Nutrition, and Massage Therapy in Pleasanton thinking about how to improve heart health.
Your well-being truly is our passion, and since heart disease is the number one cause of death for men and women in the United States, focusing on that aspect of your wellness is really important to us. Bonus: the strides you take to help your heart will benefit all the rest of you, too.
Give the most loving gift to yourself and your loved ones this Valentine’s Day and commit to keeping your cardiovascular system strong. I know, how romantic, right?
How to Start Improving Your Heart Health—Now
To start this discussion, we looked to heart health advice provided by the experts at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Their quick but comprehensive overview includes a short list of do-s and don’t-s.
They point out that people are at particularly high risk of heart disease if they are male and over 45, female and over 55, have a brother or father who had heart disease before 55, or a mother or sister with heart disease before 65. So, if you’re in one or more of those categories, this especially applies to you.
The great news is this: you can implement several of their heart health tips right now:
- Don’t smoke and avoid second-hand smoke
- Keep alcohol intake to a minimum or eliminate it altogether
- Eat a nutritious diet
- Get regular exercise
- Manage stress
- Maintain a healthy weight
At Body Balance we’re excited to be able to support people in their quest to check all the boxes on that list, and we do that with our beloved trifecta approach.
1. Let’s Move!
Our bodies are made to move, which means that movement is at the foundation of keeping your body—and all its organs—functioning well. It makes sense, then, that a sedentary lifestyle contributes to poor heart health. So let’s move!
The American Council on Exercise, ACE, recommends 60 minutes of moderate exercise per day. You can do that in one go, or accumulate several shorter session throughout the day: 10 minutes is the magic number for minimum duration of any single session. In fact, if you sit a lot, breaking up long periods of being sedentary with exercise sessions is very beneficial.
To easily determine what a “moderate” effort is, use the talk test: If you can sing, your effort is too easy. If you’re struggling to talk or can’t talk at all, that’s too hard. If you can talk fairly comfortably but can’t sing, that’s moderate. A key takeaway here: movement doesn’t need to hurt or feel like a huge strain to be beneficial.
If you’re new to the exercise world or want motivation and guidance, working with a personal trainer or taking a class is very helpful. If you work with a personal trainer, ask them for “homework” so that you can maintain your exercise program outside of your personal fitness training sessions. Working with a fitness professional takes the guesswork out of your workout routine and provides accountability. Teaming up with a friend or signing up for an event is also a good way to keep you moving regularly.
2. Let’s Relax
There’s no doubt that chronic stress is bad for your health and has a negative impact on your heart. There’s also no doubt that eliminating stress completely is not realistic, but reducing and managing stress it is available to everyone. We recently provided tips for reducing stress, including incorporating exercise, meditation, massage therapy, deep breathing, and yoga into your routine.
It’s important to use these tools regularly. Even short but frequent moments of relaxation helps you reset your nervous system to a more serene state. Take just one minute right now to close your eyes, take three deep, full inhales and exhales, and visualize a place that brings you peace. Doesn’t that feel nice? Or follow this short desk yoga routine; encourage your coworkers to join you:
Remember that incorporating relaxation into your regularly routine is an important part of your heart-care and overall healthcare. Isn’t it much more appealing to show up for a massage appointment than to go see your doctor about a stress-related health issue?
3. Let’s Nourish
Your body knows how to stay healthy—and that includes keeping your heart in great shape. The body is a magical machine! There’s a catch, however: in order for your body to work its magic, you need to provide it with the fuel it needs.
While on its face that sounds easy, we understand it’s not that simple. It can be challenging to know what works best for your body and what your body doesn’t like so much. It’s safe to state that no bodies thrive on soda and candy, but beyond that, there’s no set menu for optimal health. Every body is different, so every body has different needs. It’s up to you to crack the code.
The great news here is that you’re in the driver’s seat. By paying attention to what you eat and how it makes you feel, you can home in on what works for you and what doesn’t. For those looking for some guidance or to improve specific health issues, there’s nutrition coaching. The process does take time and commitment, but when the payoff is feeling better and improving your long-term health, well, What’s better than that?
Body Balance Nutrition Coaching, Personal Training, and Massage Therapy in Pleasanton Is Here for You
Body Balance provides small group fitness classes and personal training; nutrition coaching; and massage therapy. We also host nutrition and meditation workshops. We thrive on expanding our health and well-being community, and we invite you to join us on your healthy heart journey.