Congrats to the New Orleans Saints. What a great game! While I watched with Mitch and Kyle, they both thought the Colts would emerge winners, though we all were rooting for the Saints. I predicted the Saints would win–you gotta believe. Despite all the predictions, I like to think positive and though I am not the ultimate football fan, one thing I do know, is that “on any given Sunday” any team has a 50/50 chance of winning. What a great second half they played and after a while it was clear that the Saints had all the heart they needed to bring home that coveted trophy. Mardi Gras will be starting early this year!
Since this month is ALL about heart here’s some more healthy tips to keep your heart (and arteries) in champion condition:
Try interval training. If you happened to be in class this past Saturday morning, that was a great example. Fast tempos mixed with slow tempos to move that heart-rate up and down. Researchers from Canada’s McMaster University found that just 20 minutes of interval training (mixing near-max exertion with low-intensity recovery periods) is just as effective at conditioning your heart as one hour of moderate exercise! Next time you are on a treadmill, elliptical or out on the streets walking or running, try going as fast as you can for just 30 seconds every 3-5 minutes or so. It will change your entire workout!
Try some cheap and easy to find resistance bands. If you are working out at home these are almost an essential part of your home gym. You can use them to hit some muscles that are hard to work with dumbbells. According to a study published in the Journal of Strength Conditioning Research, using resistance bands along with dumbbells allows you to gain up to 3 times the body strength of those who only use weights. The more muscle you have, the easier to reduce body fat and raise your “good” HDL cholesterol levels.
Take a break from technology. STOP being accessible all the time! This increases adrenaline and cortisol which are both stress hormones that cause your blood pressure to be elevated. Even people with the most important jobs of all, such as physicians, presidents and parents, have a right to some down time. To counter act the negative effects of those stress hormones, make sure to take a break from your phone, blackberry and computer regularly. Doing some meditation during a break will help boost the positive effects of shutting down.
Get your zzzzzzzzzzzzzs. A study done at Warwick University in Britain found that women who got just five hours of sleep a night were twice as likely to die from heart disease as those who got seven hours of sleep a night. Without enough sleep the body is more likely to suffer from calcium build-up in the arteries, which, as we know can lead to a heart attack.
So keep in mind, just as the old song says, there is a time for everything. A time to be busy, and a time to unwind. A time to move and a time to be still. A time to be productive and a time to just be. A time to rise and a time to sleep (for seven hours).
And for me the time has come to move. Make it a great day. Take good care of your heart so it can take good care of you!