Keep The Beat: Your guide to a Heart Healthy Lifestyle

For those of you who shudder at what “diet and exercise” might mean to your visions of sugarplums this holiday season, this month’s article is for you. National Christmas Cookie Day is December 20th and let’s be honest, you deserve a cookie… and some eggnog… and maybe even the plum pudding. The key to retaining or regaining your health and happiness through this holiday season is structuring a lifestyle so healthy that even Grandma’s Christmas cut-outs can’t pack on pounds.

Healthy lifestyle choices not only improve your physical appearance but also maximize the integrity and performance of all your organ systems, including your heart. Don’t forget, it’s what’s on the inside that counts! Diet and exercise are the potent combination you need to keep your heart pumping liquid nourishment to all the cells of your body. Click here to learn more.

The general idea of a heart healthy lifestyle involves flooding your system with delicious, wholesome food and then exercising to disperse the vitamins evenly throughout your system. For some of you, the following suggestions will be challenging. Together with this article, I encourage you to sit down with your loved ones and figure out a way to have a heart-healthy holiday season. Have fun, eat tasty food and do your best to Keep the Beat.

fruitPortion Control.

The serving size of many foods has doubled in the last few decades while our stomachs (but not our bellies) have stayed the same size!

Overeating is often directly responsible for indigestion, bloating and weight gain. As you serve yourself this holiday season, fill your plate with plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and small portions of desserts. Desserts typically contain lots of sugar, which damages our heart (atherosclerosis) and gets stored in our body as fat, causing weight gain. A heart-healthy dinner would look like this: 75% fruits and vegetables (especially the dark, leafy green kind), 20% lean protein such as turkey or chicken and 5% desserts.

fitnessGet addicted to Exercise

For those without gym memberships, you can coordinate a heart-healthy (cardiovascular) workout with just a flight of stairs. Start climbing. In about two minutes, you’ll know what I mean! The goal during cardiovascular exercise is to strengthen the heart, pump oxygen and vitamins throughout the body and burn off the “extra energy” or fat that we’ve accumulated.

For those interested in losing weight, I recommend calculating your target heart rate and exercising at that level. Target heart rate is the specific number of heartbeats per minute that causes maximal fat burning and the greatest benefits to the heart. Use the following formula to find your target heart rate: (220 – your age) x 70%. Exercise at your target heart rate for 30 minutes, at least 3 times per week. You can do it!

Now that the temperature is dropping and the snow is piling up, the importance of a solid nutritional and fitness plan for yourself and your family is greater than ever. Because lifestyle has everything to do with your expression of health, identifying and correcting dietary and exercise deficiencies is essential to creating a healthier you. The purpose of this month’s article is to encourage you to develop a specific lifestyle strategy to make strides toward a healthier you. Maximize your potential for a bright and healthy future and above all, Keep the beat!

Your health is the most important thing in the world. Please contact Independent Nursing Care for more information. Encourage others to join you in your quest to stay healthy.

A balanced diet, and exercise program is the best way to maximize the health benefits to you this holiday season. Take a few minutes and check out this helpful link below:

Exercise for Everyone: Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy and reducing your risks. (source: CDC)