February is the month for hearts, and not just of the Valentine variety. Heart disease kills more women than breast cancer. In fact, something that is so easily preventable through exercise and nutrition is our #1 killer, a sedentary lifestyle being the main risk factor.
As busy and tired mothers, it is often difficult to find time to devote to an exercise program and proper nutrition each day, but it is so vital in order to reduce our risk. We only have this one life and this one heart, and it can be so fragile. So let’s make an effort everyday to take action – we owe it to ourselves and to our families. And as an added bonus, it teaches our children to take care of their bodies as well.
For a healthy heart, you should aim for 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 to 4 times per week. However, if you can only do 10 minutes, it’s better than nothing at all. (I know you can find 10 minutes to spare each day.) Even 10 minutes 3 times a day is awesome, and it doesn’t have to be on a dreaded treadmill. It doesn’t even have to look like or feel like real exercise to be beneficial. Make it fun. Recruit a friend and train for a fun race, walk to the store, or exercise with your kids – chase them around in the backyard, jump on the trampoline together or go for a nature walk.
Besides a healthier heart, regular exercise can:
- Improve your mood
- Improve self-esteem
- Strengthen your bones
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve muscle tone, balance and flexibility
- Improve circulation
- Boost energy
- Improve your sleep quality
- Reduce stress
- Increase your fitness
- Reduce body fat and improve your appearance (skin included)
And don’t forget to drink plenty of water, eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and cut down on processed and junk foods.
Always consult a physician prior to starting a new exercise program.