How To Love the Strongest Muscle In Our Body: The Heart
The strongest muscle in the body. It beats over 2 billion times in a lifetime & puts up with all the stress we throw at it. It’s our heart. Many of us won’t even think about keeping it healthy until we are told to by our doctors. The truth is, many heart health problems are extremely preventable with the right lifestyle choices. Let’s take a look at some of the simplest, most effective ways to keep this muscle pumping at every age!
The quality of our soil has steadily declined over the last few decades. As a result, our produce contains much less of this important mineral. Eating a healthy diet may not be enough. Magnesium is responsible for over 300 reactions in the body, especially relaxing muscles and blood vessels and over 75% of us are deficient. I think this is a no-brainer.
Take a deep breath. By regularly taking time to reset our nervous system (from sympathetic to parasympathetic) we take the stress off of our cardiovascular system that causes high blood pressure, anxiety and palpitations. There are several ways to practice this, but here’s a simple way to start: try breathing in for 3 seconds, holding your breath for 5 seconds, and exhale slowly for 7 seconds. The pause between inhaling and exhaling is key to calming the brain and relaxing the heart. Try it lying down for 5 minutes at the end of your day.
Break a sweat
Your heart, like your biceps and hamstrings, is a muscle. It needs to be ‘worked out’ in order to stay in tip-top shape. Simple boosts of activity that get your blood pumping are easier to incorporate than you would think. Try interval (also know as HIIT) training a couple of times per week. It cycles between low and high intensity to keep your body guessing and strengthens your cardiovascular system. The best part: you only need 20 minutes per session to see benefit. No excuses.
Start with one of these habits for a week, and slowly incorporate the others. Your future self will thank you.
Photo courtesy of Jamie Street