Written by Brent Bishop, Celebrity Trainer
We all like to look and feel our best, and we know that much of this comes from healthy eating, consistent exercise, sleep and effective stress management. Regular exercise is an excellent way to strengthen and tone your muscles but the most important muscle is one we can’t see in the mirror: our heart. The heart muscle is responsible for delivering oxygen to your entire body and of course keeping you alive. Without a healthy heart, your quality of life dramatically declines. So with February being Heart Health Month, it’s a perfect time to focus on our heart health!
Get Your Heart Pumping
Just like any other muscle in your body, the heart requires exercise to stay healthy. Make it a focus to get your heart pumping through at least 20 minutes of exercise five times per week for optimal health. Try choosing activities that you enjoy doing so that you’ll stay consistent. Whether it’s running, snowshoeing, weight training or swimming; choose a variety of different activities to stay fit and engaged. Incorporating HIIT (high intensity interval training) into your routine is an excellent way to strengthen your heart. This efficient method of training incorporates small bouts of high intensity exercise followed by short active recovery periods. For added accountability and fun, enlist a training partner, personal trainer or try some group fitness classes.
Hypertension impacts over 1 in 5 Canadians. Having high blood pressure can have detrimental effects on your heart long term. A balanced, healthy diet is essential to maintain heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Aside from focusing on eating balanced meals containing lean protein, healthy fats, whole grains with ample fruit and vegetables, there are some small actions you can take to make a big impact long term. Try cutting out added salt and use herbs and spices instead to flavour your dishes. Eliminate trans fats by avoiding baked goods and processed foods. Add avocado to your salads, salmon to your meals and reach for nuts and seeds for snacks. Healthy fats found in these foods are rich in omega 3’s, which can enhance HDL’s (good) cholesterol and lower LDL’s (bad) cholesterol. Supplementing your diet with proven, natural blood pressure supplements such as Swiss Natural’s Blood Pressure Health and Cholessterol with Vegapure is a great addition to ensure healthy blood pressure levels and reduce LDL-cholesterol.
Rest and Restoration
Modern society has pushed us to sit more, move less and develop poor eating habits. And when you add the stress of work and daily life, the impact can be very detrimental over time. Aiming for 8 hours of sleep daily and implementing a regular stress-reduction practice can be a great way to manage stress, reduce blood pressure and maintain heart health. Swiss Natural’s Solutions Stress reduces anxiety and boosts energy by removing free radical damage. Mindfulness-based stress reduction has become an increasingly popular as a way to reduce stress and maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Try spending 5-10 minutes daily, focusing on deep breathing in a relaxed environment to help reduce stress.
Armed with a little more heart awareness, an exercise plan, purposeful nutrition and stress reduction, make a pact yourself and your heart to make this your healthiest year yet. To kick start your focus on heart health, try this one month Heart Health Challenge:
Brent Bishop is a celebrity trainer and national on-air fitness expert. He dedicates his time and energy to inspiring an active lifestyle through fitness, adventure, and media. Learn more about Brent at IamBishop.com.
Swiss Natural has been helping Canadians supplement their lives for over 45 years by providing brands like Total One, Probiotic Age and Natural HRT to help to be your best, everyday.