Keeping Your Heart Healthy Means Being Pro-Active and Making Changes

By Debra Staton, Wellness Coordinator for the Arkansas Health Network

Wellness Coordinator

I always start my blog with the following…

Let’s strive to always be “pro-active not in-active” is a phrase I refer to in all aspects of wellness. I coined this phrase after making behavioral changes in my own life. You must be pro-active towards making changes, because if you are in-active, this means you are staying in the same place.

February is the shortest month of the year, but packed with love and kindness gestures. We see hearts everywhere…on cards, balloons, candy, jewelry and much more. Have you ever said “I love you with all my heart” or “you hold the key to my heart?” So, if we say that we love someone with something as powerful as a heart, we must take care of our heart, for without it we would not exist.

February is American Heart Month, which makes it a perfect time to focus on heart health. You can take this opportunity to reduce your risk of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. Metaphorically speaking, let’s look at the “key” as a way of unlocking knowledge about heart health. One important key is exercise, so step out and put your heart into it, and I do mean literally take that step.

Exercise is good for your heart!

  • Lowers blood pressure …Exercise makes the heart stronger when you exercise. It takes less effort for it to pump blood throughout your body; therefore helping with your blood pressure.
  • Increases “good” cholesterol… The high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is the good type of cholesterol, which acts as a filter in your bloodstream.
  • Lowers “bad” cholesterol… The low-density lipoprotein (LDS) is the bad type of cholesterol, and exercise can help lower this one.
  • Improves circulation… Your heart and blood vessels are responsible for getting oxygen to your muscles and the rest of your body.
  • Helps with weight loss…Simply put, you burn calories, and you need to burn more calories than you consume in order to lose weight.
  • Helps with sleep…If you improve your heart health through exercise, your sleep habits improve.
  • Helps reduce stress…Exercise releases endorphins (feel good hormones); therefore, lowering your risk for heart disease.

Remember, be pro-active not inactive…