Get Active to Improve Your Heart Health
February is Heart Health Month! How well are you taking care of your ticker?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death for Americans; in fact, the CDC estimates that one person dies from heart disease every 36 seconds.
Obviously, heart health is a major cause for concern for healthcare professionals and it should be for you too — especially if your family has a history of cardiovascular conditions. While changing your dietary habits is a good starting point, exercising your heart is equally important and will yield positive, long-term results for you. So, how should you get started?
Get on your feet.
The simple act of just getting up is a good place to start improving your heart health. According to the American Heart Association, even some light-intensity activity can help offset the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
Of course, this can be a challenge if you work in a job that requires you to sit at a computer for eight hours a day. So, be sure to take a break at some point in the day. Step away from your desk, and if the weather’s nice, go for a walk outside. If the weather is too nasty, get your steps in around the office.
The toughest part of starting an exercise plan is simply getting yourself into the routine. Think about what you want to accomplish when you start working out and keep that goal in mind as you progress through your plan. Set small attainable goals. Once you settle into your routine, up the intensity and keep pushing yourself. Hard work will yield positive results.
Let’s be honest — you’re not going to be running marathons right out of the gate. However, you can set a baseline for yourself and work up from there. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity — or some combination of the two.
Set aside some time to go for a walk, jog or run — either outside or on a treadmill. Ride a bicycle or a stationary bike. You could also use an elliptical. Find an exercise that works for you and gets your heart pumping. Remember to start slow. Don’t jump into a high-intensity workout right away — ease into it. Start at a lower intensity or level. Once you settle into a workout, gradually increase the intensity as you progress.
Don’t get discouraged.
Let’s be perfectly honest — you’re not going to see the results you’re looking for immediately. Significant progress and positive changes to your body take time, so don’t get down on yourself when you don’t see any big changes after a week. Make your workout plan a long-term commitment. Track your progress in a journal or even on social media; you may be surprised at the difference a month, six months or a year can make!
Want to learn about appropriate exercises for you or your loved one? The caring providers and expert staff at Culbertson Memorial Hospital work hard to help you reach your health goals.