Nourish Your Heart this February



Exercise and a balanced diet are well-known actions that improve heart health, but there are many other lifestyle factors that help keep not only your heart, but your body and mind healthy. Some may even surprise you!


In honor of National Heart Month, we invite you to nourish you heart by trying some of these ideas!


1.   Green is the new gym. “Green exercise” leads to increased vitality and well-being. Biking or running by the lake (or diving in the lake for a swim) can help lift depression. Aerobic and non-aerobic activities lead to a healthier heart and increased sense of well-being. A run, a bike ride, or a walk outside are great ways to care for your heart and improve your mood. According to Psychology Today, outdoor exercise makes people happier, less fatigued and angry, more tranquil and relaxed, and bestows a more lasting energy boost compared to indoor exercise. Even five minutes of green exercise (like walking across a park or campus) is likely to boost self-esteem and mood.


 2.   Try two legs or wheels. Walking or biking to campus can benefit your heart, save money, and protect the environment.


 3.   Giggle! That the old-time saying “laughter is the best medicine” has much truth. Hearty laughter relaxes the walls of your arteries, causing increased blood flow for up to 45 minutes. Regular laughter can lead to a nice reduction in blood pressure. What’s the right dose of this great medicine? Try about 50 good laughs a day. There appears to be no evidence of anyone ever overdosing.


4.   Take 20. Spend at least 20 minutes a day practicing a meditation you enjoy to reduce your risk factors for heart disease. Meditation slows, and even reverses, some of the physiological changes which underlie cardiovascular disease.


 5.   Thank you and you’re welcome. Happiness, kindness, gratitude, and forgiveness are some great medicines for your heart.  Recommendations: 3-4 acts of kindness per day, keeping a journal of things you are thankful for 1-2 days per week, forgiveness, as needed.



6.   Pass the spinach please. Eating plenty of flavonoid rich foods, like fruits and vegetable, including beta-carotene rich foods, as carrots, dark green vegetables that appear to be good for your heart. Other recommendations are fish oils, dark purple fruits, and vegetables.



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