Always make sure to give your heart some extra love when working out. The heart is one of the most vital organs in your whole body. When engaging in physical activity, it’s normal for your heart rate to increase from all your hard work. However, you always want to treat your heart with the utmost love and care, so follow these fitness and diet tips to ensure you’re maximizing your heart health.
Training is very important for a healthy heart. There are two forms of exercise in which you can engage in when you work out: aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic exercise gets your heart pumping and includes activities such as cardio. Anaerobic exercise only slightly increases your heart rate and includes more toning activities such as weightlifting. When combining these two forms of exercising, you will get a very efficient workout. Aerobic activities work to strengthen your heart and help protect your heart during anaerobic activities, which give your heart a break and strengthen your muscles.
While it’s tempting to only engage in Aerobic exercises, but just like with every other part of your body, your heart muscle needs a break too. You wouldn’t want to work just your biceps during a one-hour long workout session because your biceps would get overworked, and the same concept applies for your heart.
You also want to know your limits while weightlifting and bodybuilding. Since gaining muscle is the main goal, it can also be tempting to try and lift the heaviest set of weights possible, however that is actually damaging to your body. Lifting more than half your weight could be damaging to your heart. Lifting anything heavier than that could potentially cause you to damage your aorta, which lets blood out of your heart. This is very serious because this damage could be deadly. Therefore, it’s really important to be careful while weightlifting.
Another just as important component of heart health is diet. Luckily, eating healthy for your heart is simple. Increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Limit your intake of high-fat foods and sodium. [Side note: Even though not all fats are bad for you, it's just always a good rule of thumb to consume them in moderation.]
Consume more fruits and veggies in your diet. If you enjoy eating fruits and vegetables raw, you’re on such a great track. But if you don’t, it’s ok; there are still other ways to consume these foods without feeling totally repelled by them. Grilled fruit and vegetables are all the rage! You can add on a little cinnamon on fruit or herbs on the vegetables and you’ve got yourself a tasty treat. Herbs are always great for extra flavor! You could always throw fruit and vegetables into a blender and make some awesome smoothies that are full of nutrients.
Another HUGE component of the diet is portion control. You could honestly eat whatever you wanted as long as it was all in moderation. You want your body to attain all the health benefits and nutrients from food, but you also don’t want to over-consume anything. While you want a balance between aerobic and anaerobic exercises, you also want a balance between what foods you eat.
The ideal plate should be split into four sections. You want to fill two of those sections with fruits and vegetables. Then one section should have a protein, and the other should contain a whole grain. If you have a less-healthy addition to your meal, consume only one-tenth of that dish. That way, you won’t feel guilty about eating it, and you will have leftovers for future meals. If you want a little dessert, measure it out in a shot glass. That way you can have that little, satisfying bite of ice cream or chocolate chips. [Pro tip: Put away your container or bag before you eat, so then you won’t be tempted to have seconds].
With a healthy diet and the right amount of fitness, you’re working your way to a healthy heart. No matter how young or old you are, these simple changes could be life-changing. If you’d like a little extra help monitoring your heart health, invest in a heart rate monitor. This is a great way to determine how your heart is doing while you’re exercising. It can also help you decide if you need to speed up or slow down and how long it takes for your heart to recover.
Next time you’re at the gym, take a moment to think about how what you’re doing is affecting your heart. Maybe it’s time to make a few positive changes in your routine.
Yours in Health,