Five Ways To Love Your Heart

Today is Valentine’s Day eve, so it’s no surprise that today’s Friday Five theme is all about love. Since we are still in the middle of American Heart Month, I thought I would share five ways to love your heart.

5 Ways Love Your Heart
When I was responding to comments on my Go Red for Women post, it struck me that so many of the steps we are encouraged to take to improve our heart health fit with #wycwyc–doing what you can when you can. Here are five ways to love your heart that don’t require you to make drastic changes to your diet or spend half the day in the gym.

 (Each item is linked to an article on the American Heart Association website.)

1. Be active. We all know that exercise is important to heart health, but we shouldn’t forget that a moderate level of physical activity–equivalent to 30 minutes of brisk walking a day–can be enough to improve cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and make you feel good.

2. Enjoy heart-healthy foods. You don’t have to follow a special diet to enjoy heart-healthy foods, but there are foods on this list of ten heart-healthy foods that you can enjoy if you follow a vegan,vegetarian, low-carb, or Paleo diet. Since I’m don’t follow any particular diet, I can enjoy all the foods. 😉 

3. Lower your cholesterol. Did you see the news this week that dietary cholesterol may not be the health risk we have been told it was? That’s good news for someone like me who loves to eat eggs! There is a correlation between high blood levels of “bad” cholesterol and heart disease, so lowering your cholesterol levels is still important. According to the American Heart Association, getting at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, avoiding tobacco smoke and eating a heart-healthy diet can help lower your cholesterol levels.  

4. Manage stress. If you are like me, you may feel like you are under a lot of stress trying to juggle the competing demands of work, family and your own personal needs. Stress is no joke. Physical symptoms of stress can include increased adrenaline production that causes your breathing and heart rate to speed up, and your blood pressure to rise. When stress is constant or chronic, these effects can impact your health and put you at risk. It is important to manage stress–and do what you can to reduce the stressors in your life!

5. Get enough sleep. Competing demands on my time can make it tempting to skimp on sleep, but poor sleep is linked with high blood pressure, raises levels of stress hormones, and weakens your immune system. Don’t feel guilty for going to bed early or taking a nap–do it for your health! 

 

If you’re more interested in Friday the 13th, please hop over to the Cherry Blossom blog, where we’re sharing our race day horror stories.

Do you have any plans for Valentine’s Day?

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21 Responses to Five Ways To Love Your Heart

  1. Great post and great things to remember. I’m doing a pretty good job there, except for the sleep. I REALLY need to work on that item for a lot of reasons.
    John @ run. geek. run(disney) recently posted…Five Things You Love to Hate | Friday FiveMy Profile

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Great reminders! I know I definitely need to work on the last two, stress and sleep. It’s a never ending cycle sometimes, but something I try hard to make a priority even if I don’t always succeed.
    Elizabeth recently posted…Friday Five: Things I Love!My Profile

  3. Carla says:

    I love this. Even though I am the big champion of WICKWICK I will admit to being consistently surprised how well it works for my physical health.

    What feels like such small stuff when done each day really does add up.

    xoxo

  4. If only I could get enough sleep. That will be the one thing that gives me a heart attack. I haven’t slept through the night in over 3 years!! Hope you have a great weekend in NYC!
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…Friday Five: 5 Things I’m Loving Lately!My Profile

  5. ah sleep! I am hoping to get a little more of that this weekend.
    Deborah Brooks @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…5 Reasons Runners Make Better LoversMy Profile

  6. Jennifer says:

    Nice take on this weeks theme! I know the past two weeks was a good example of me how to / how not to manage stress.
    Jennifer recently posted…Friday Five – Favorite Things at the Moment IIIMy Profile

  7. HoHo Runs says:

    I wish I was a better sleeper. I’m just not…family trait. I need to work on reducing stress. Great reminders.
    HoHo Runs recently posted…Disney Valentine (Friday Five)My Profile

  8. Loved your take on the theme this week. We all need to be “Heart Smart’.

  9. I’m good at sleep 🙂 I should work on the stress part.
    carrie@familyfitnessfood recently posted…Fresh and Easy Valentine DinnerMy Profile

  10. all excellent tips — getting enough sleep is one of my biggest struggles.
    Courtney @ Eat Pray Run DC recently posted…Gifts for the Lover in Your LifeMy Profile

  11. Great reminders – especially about managing stress and getting enough sleep! Meditating really helps me with my stress (so does working out) but boy do I need to work on my sleep!
    Michelle @ Running with Attitude recently posted…Snow-crazedMy Profile

  12. Kim says:

    #4 and #5 are the ones that I’m the worst at!!!
    No Valentine Day plans here – I hate trying to go out that day and am perfectly content to stay home with the boys!!
    Kim recently posted…Not My FavoriteMy Profile

  13. Kristen says:

    Great post! I have heart disease in my family so I always try to keep these things in mind. #4 is so hard for me though!
    Kristen recently posted…Friday Five: My 5 ValentinesMy Profile

  14. Marcia says:

    It fascinates me how much the health mandates have evolved over the years. First fat was the villain and we were encouraged to follow a Dean Ornish-type diet. Then eggs were implicated for cholesterol. Now I’m happy to see the focus shift to bad cholesterol instead of the total number. You’re right though: it’s really all about small changes we can make and stick with. Hope you’re enoying Valentine’s Day!
    Marcia recently posted…5 Free Resources to Keep New Swimmers AfloatMy Profile

  15. I love this! And coincidentally (or not coincidentally, since it’s Heart Month!), I’m drafting up a post on heart health. Love your tips!
    Cynthia @ You Signed Up For WHAT?! recently posted…Five Things to Love About TriathlonMy Profile

  16. Great Post and nice article.Thanks for reminding.I will try this Next time.Thanks for sharing.

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