With the holidays upon us, I thought I’d share a little hit list* I usually reference to help me keep myself on track, so that I don’t feel like I should resign myself to loose-fitting sweat pants to welcome in the New Year and beyond.
Everything in moderation is my year-round mantra but, I love addressing these too:
SHAKE MORE THAN YOUR SALT! Exercise helps to maintain a healthy weight, good cholesterol and blood pressure. “The Surgeon General recommends moderate-intensity activity for at least 150 minutes per week,” says Caroline Klinge. Luckily, some of that exercise can be part of daily activities. Take the stairs instead of an elevator, walk, rake leaves, do housework and take 10 minutes to dance as if no one is watching. Exercise is more fun with friends and family members, so hit the gym or the trails in a group. And remember that people who spend most of the day sitting, are 54 percent more likely to develop heart disease. Stand up, stretch or take a brisk walk.
SLEEP ON IT. Sleep is good for the heart. According to The National Sleep Foundation, the rule of thumb for adults 18 years and older is seven to nine hours every night.
TRY SOMETHING FISHY. Fish that is high in Omega 3 fatty acids such as salmon, herring and tuna are essential to a heart healthy diet. Fish oil supplements, especially those containing krill oil, have been shown to lower cholesterol and triglycerides.
LOL! Laughter really is the best medicine. According to research from the University of Maryland Medical Center, laughing relieves stress that damages the endothelium, the tissue that forms the inner lining of blood vessels and promotes blood flow and healthy blood vessels. Watch a lighthearted movie or sitcom, read a funny book or take in a show at a comedy club.
PASS ON THE SALT. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, cutting back on salt intake would make the number of coronary heart disease cases significantly decrease. “To help reduce intake, try LoSalt as it has 66 percent less sodium than regular table, sea and rock salts but tastes just like regular salt,” recommends Klinge.
SAY OMMM! Yoga/Pilates not only provides exercise that gets heart rates pumping, but the meditative aspects of yoga help reduce stress and build body awareness.
MAKE HEART HEALTH A FAMILY AFFAIR. Good heart health begins at home. With childhood obesity a growing concern in America, parents must help kids develop healthy eating and exercise habits.
THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT. Several smartphone providers offer free or very inexpensive apps to keep track of heart rate, blood pressure, stress levels and exercise progress. Several apps offer information on heart health, music, and links to social media sites.
And finally, these mantras should be used to help you stay healthy throughout the year, not just during the holidays! Good luck.
What do you do to keep yourself balanced during the crazy holiday season?
*some of the wording for the mantras provided by LoSalt- UK’s leading low-sodium alternative!