American Heart AssociationDuring the month of February the Shingletown Medical Center will be sharing information regarding ways to improve your health and more specifically your heart health. Heart disease in women requires more attention, more research and swifter action. That’s why, from hitting the books to taking it to the Hill, Go Red for Women provides many opportunities for women everywhere to learn the facts about heart disease.

Heart-Healthy Exercise – Exercising on a regular basis can sound great – in theory. But when it comes to actually doing it, are you among the many who will find anything and everything possible to occupy your time instead?

If every effort to embark on a new fitness plan ends with new running shoes or exercise equipment that remain unused, it’s time to change your mindset. First of all, know you’re not alone. We all face this struggle; and the good news is that we can all conquer it. After all, you don’t have to work out like you’re training for a marathon to get your heart in great shape.

Wondering what you need to know to improve your physical fitness and help reduce your heart disease risk? Let’s start with these fitness basics. Physical activity is anything that makes you move your body and burn calories. For people who would benefit from lowering their blood pressure or cholesterol, the American Heart Association recommends 40 minutes of aerobic exercise of moderate to vigorous intensity three to four times a week to lower the risk for heart attack and stroke. Below are several key types of exercise that can all help you improve your level of fitness.

1. Strength and resistance training are important elements of a good physical activity routine. The American Heart Association recommends strength training at least twice per week.

A well-rounded strength-training program provides the following benefits:
• Increased strength of bones, muscles and connective tissues (tendons and ligaments)
• Lower risk of injury
• Increased muscle mass, which makes it easier for your body to burn calories and thus maintain a healthy weight
• Better quality of life

2. Walking and running – Walking is a great way to get you moving with minimal impact on your body. It’s also low-risk and easy to start. While the AHA recommends that adults get 150 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week, even short 10 minute activity sessions can be added up over the week to reach this goal.

A regular walking program can also:
• Improve your cholesterol profile
• Lower blood pressure
• Increase your energy and stamina
• Boost bone strength
• Prevent weight gain

3. Yoga is an ancient practice with potential mental and physical health benefits for people of all ages.
Practicing yoga—as part of an overall healthy lifestyle—can:
• Help lower blood pressure
• Increase lung capacity
• Improve respiratory function
• Boost circulation and tone muscles
• Give you a sense of well-being while building strength

In addition, yoga poses require stretching, increasing flexibility.

Flexibility activities are an appropriate part of a physical activity program. Note however that yoga does not count toward the 150-minutes-per-week of recommended moderate activity. That’s due in part because some forms of yoga do not raise the heart rate enough to achieve moderate intensity aerobic activity for a sustained period.

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Shingletown Medical Center Board Members and Staff wish you a “Healthy” and “Happy” Heart!