Love comes from our hearts and our minds so what better time to think of heart health, mental awareness and clarity! Love yourself in February by getting into a fitness program if you haven’t already. Not because it’s a New Year’s resolution but because you want to give the best possible health to yourself – all year round!
So, let’s start with non-judgment. I hear from a lot of people that they feel self conscious about exercising in front of other people. All those mirrors really put us in touch with the shapes of who we are, don’t they?. Trust me, when you get into a room of women, we’re all thinking that – too fat, too thin, legs too long, hips too big, breasts not big enough – whoa - all that negative self-judgment! If you look at it this way, we’re all so busy with our own inner dialogues how could we possibly have an opinion about someone else! Be brave, try a class, at least we’re not in thong leotards anymore! There have been periods of time and cultures who revere Rubenesque shapes as well as lean – remember Twiggy? Be accepting of your physical self – it just is what it is based on hereditary and lifestyle choices.. And, maybe you are completely happy with your body the way it is. If not, there’s hope, you can’t change your genes, but you can improve your lifestyle.
Now it’s time to get tested and work for a healthy heart. The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 30-60 minutes of cardiovascular activity most days of the week at 50% to 80% of your maximum capacity. That means getting your heart rate up into the Target Zone. Based on the age predicted formula (ACSM 1991) subtract your age from 220, then multiply that figure by 50% and 80% - that is your cardio workout zone in beats per minute. Always consult a physician before starting a cardiovascular program, particularly if you have a history of heart disease personally or in your family.
Get your cardio in interesting ways – ballroom dancing is awesome and so popular now. Walking up hill will probably get you up there, walking on the straight probably not. Bicycling, jogging, swimming, non-impact aerobics (keep those joints healthy!) you name it. Vigorous housekeeping and gardening is a possibility. Start slowly so you don’t overwhelm your system, particularly if you’re not use to this type of exercise. If you choose what feels good, is conveniently located and at a time which doesn’t throw your whole schedule off, you’re sure to succeed. Here’s another fact: people who exercise to music, do it longer and more frequently than those who do not. So put on those iPods you got for the holidays and get moving!
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