In our previous blog article, the Center for Natural and Integrative Medicine endorsed a healthy heart as the greatest “Valentine” you could give to your loved ones. In that blog we also covered some Heart Healthy eating habits. Those habits made up the First Chapter of our Heart Owner’s Manual,( Part One.)
Although Valentine’s Day is now in the past, we continue to hope you will nurture a healthy heart for yourself and your family. Thus we bring you Part II of our:
Heart Owner’s Manual: Treating Your Heart To Regular Physical Activity (Chapter Two)
Again, we refer to the experts at the American Heart Society, for some of their special tips on the motivation, inspiration, and physicalization of exercises for your heart, in addition to the well-being of your entire body.
1. Dress like you mean it!
You are in for the long haul, for a life-changing regime of physical activity that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Therefore, you need to invest in some good, properly fitted athletic shoes.
Your clothes need not be designer leotards, but you need to dress in comfortable, loose-fitted clothing that is appropriate for your activity.
For example, a sweat suit works well for walking or jogging. You might want to purchase one in winter weight material and one in summer weight material.
2. Marking Time!
You might have to begin at a slow pace with a few minutes of time. Take that time and mark it, at the same time of day, every day, on your schedule. What ever activity you have chosen, be it walking, jogging, dancing or biking, talk to your doctor about what he or she recommends for your goal. The general rule is to build up time doing your activity until you can manage 30 minutes per day.
Find a perfect place to do your activities. Whether it is the park down the street or a stationary bike in the den, always know where you are going for your activity, and make it part of your regime.
3. Be Reasonable!
Do not push yourself like you are in training for a champion race. Look for little ways to bring more activity into your life. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Take a good walk before you go shopping. Watch less TV.
We do not advise you to exercise vigorously right after you have eaten or in the high heat and humidity of the day. Likewise, we want you to listen to your body. If your body “says” it just can’t do the routine, you might actually need a break. Make it up later or the next day. Be gentle with yourself.
4. Find the Fun!
You need to pick activities that you find fun, and you need more than one of them, so you don’t get bored. For example you might swim on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but walk on Wednesdays and Fridays. Save the week-end for something special, like a hike, a bike or a dance class.
We believe you have a better chance of developing physical activity as a way of life if you have family, friends or classmates who run, walk or bike with you.
Don’t forget the motivating power of music, which can spice up even the most boring exercise routine. You can find more heart-healthy hints at this reliable online source.
5. Keep Records of Success!
Many of our patients at the Center for Natural and Integrative Medicine find it helpful to keep track of their activities on a calendar or in a little notebook. It isn’t difficult to keep a log of each session. Write down your accomplishments in terms of time. Note also, your feelings about how the session made you feel.
Reward yourself when you reach certain milestones in your activities–but not with food! Is it bribery, to give yourself a personal gift? Perhaps, but your heart will appreciate it! Visit this informative resource for more information about enriching your heart health with exercise. They have listed many more tips and guides to help you get, and stay, motivated.
You do not need a high dollar piece of exercise equipment to get started, but, as one advertisement for such equipment states, “just get up and walk!” That’s some good advice for your healthy heart. Thank you for reading the blog at the Center for Natural and Integrative Medicine, and we hope you return next week for Chapter 3 of our Heart Owner’s Manual, “Coping With Stress.”