As time progresses, changes take place in our schedules, energy level, physical abilities and yes, sometimes even our waistline! Some of us may have been athletes in our younger days burning thousands of calories because of our active lifestyle. But what if we are still eating like a football player and our feet haven’t hit the turf in 40 years? Sometimes simple adjustments can make a world of difference in our heart health.
It’s no surprise that the American diet has plunged into a vortex of high fat, excessive sugars and low nutrition, and yet there are simple practices we can put into place to mitigate the effects.
Be Aware – Stating the morning with a large glass of water will hydrate the organs and give the body what it needs upon awakening. It’s no secret that we are not drinking enough water, but how much is enough? Half your body weight in ounces should be the minimum daily intake of water. For example, a 100 lb. person should drink 50 ounces of water at the very least each day. Fresh fruit is a better alternative than sugary cereals or the bagels, muffins and cinnamon rolls we sometimes gravitate towards. In fact, one of the first things your doctor will tell you in order to steer clear of diabetes is to avoid white foods. Items like white rice, pastas, breads, and processed sugars offer no value to the body but certainly diminish its health. When we think artificial sweeteners, we should think poison. Dr. Mercola sites that the Ramazzini Institute has connected Splenda (also called sucralose) to cancer, while other research shows links to depression, weight gain, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Hardly worth the cost of a diet soda!
Keep Moving – In a society where we spend hours in front of a screen or just being sedentary it’s good to take note that sitting is the new smoking. The less active we are, the more toxins build up and reside in our body with no way of escape! The lymphatic system is the only way to eliminate toxic waste and that system only works through movement of the body. The Chinese have a saying “100 steps 100 years” – they know we must keep moving to stay healthy. Many folks in China will take a walk together as a family after their evening meal to ensure long life. Exercise should never be a cookie cutter model but should be very personalized around the lifestyle and physical challenges of the individual. Keep in mind that we lose 10% of our muscle every decade and muscle mass is the determining factor for longevity. It’s good to have a combination of stretching, (think yoga, Pilates, tai chi) cardio (think power walk, stairs, jogging) and muscle strengthening (think resistance training, lifting weights, water aerobics). Healthy hearts are on the move!
Secret Benefits of Staying Social – People who have regular social interaction tend to live longer, happier lives. Those who are participating in clubs, religious gatherings, social events, local fundraisers or volunteer activities tend to have a sense of community. Those who have events to attend, even if it’s a lunch date or meeting friends for coffee have something to look forward to! Being isolated at home with not much going on was never a recipe for fulfillment.
A healthy heart is a happy heart. When we take care of the one, we have, it then can overflow with life-force and love that impacts not only our day but the world around us.