Happiness: Your Heart Depends On It
Depends on what? HAPPINESS. If you're not living and breathing it, I'm sorry to say, neither is your heart. Show your heart some love by injecting HAPPINESS into your workout. I recently appeared on Fox News for Dr. Manny's Heart Health show to talk about preventative measures for heart disease and how to live an active lifestyle. Check out the clip from the show and my tips for living a heart healthy life by loving your workout. It's Valentine's Day for goodness' sake! Make sure to love that tender and hard-working heart of yours.
I'M NOT A DOCTOR BUT I KNOW HAPPINESS IS ONE STRONG ANTIDOTE
When you're happy you're sending out positive energy that's attractive, healing and empowering. Think about all the happy people you know and how much you like being around them. Good vibes are magnetic, right? If you're enjoying fitness activity, you're more likely to do it again and again. The hardest part of exercise is staying consistent. Yes, I realize it's easy to fall off the wagon. But if you want to protect yourself against heart attack, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancers, you've got to find a way to get back on. The answer is HAPPINESS. Dreading your workout as you head to the gym is counter productive.
As Chrissy Harmon of Clueberries.com, writes:
When negative thoughts are supercharged with energy, negative emotions take over your body, paralyze you, make you feel deflated and powerless. (source: MindBodyGreen)
If you're feeling uninspired, it doesn't mean you should give up or continue a routine that makes you unhappy.
In Add More ~ing To Your Life: A Hip Guide To Happiness, Gabrielle Bernstein writes:
The key is to find activities that guide you to release and empower you to change.
The message is simple and clear. Rethink the way you move so that you'll enjoy it. Here's how I recommend going about that...
ASK YOURSELF "WHAT DO I LIKE TO DO?"
Check in with yourself and think about what you like that's active. What has made you happy in the past? What would you be open to trying? If you have no idea, consider a few options. I've listed a bunch of my favorites for you further along in this article. But I encourage you to ask around. See what your friends and family like or poke around online for fitness reviews that appeal to you. However you go about this discovery process, make sure the activity suits your personality, location and schedule.
SET THE TONE FOR FEEL-GOOD-FITNESS BY...
- Eating lighter. Large or heavy meals will keep you from the gym. Too many carbs will tire you out.
- Chilling out and getting a full nights of sleep. You'll feel more pumped to work out when you're clear headed and energized.
- Styling up. Working out is an important event, just like going to work or to a party. When you feel good about how you look and you feel comfortable in the clothes you're wearing, that's going to increase your engagement and performance level. When you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, anything's possible. This means taking the time to put together a flattering fitness look with sportswear made to sweat in (not old clothes that you've downgraded to gym-wear).
PICK A HEART HEALTHY WORKOUT AND DATE IT
Or date a few. Variety is great and you'll see more total-body results this way too! For a workout to be heart healthy, it must be cardiovascular or aerobic in nature. Cardio exercise strengthens your heart and lowers your blood pressure. It also strengthens your lungs, improves your body's use oxygen, boosts your metabolism, burns calories, assists in weight loss, and helps reduce stress...which all feed back into improving the condition of your heart.
Some examples of cardio exercise are power walking, jogging, cycling, cross-country skiing, skating, rowing, and swimming. Cardio fitness options are abundant, it's just a matter of choosing what you like and increasing the intensity of that workout over time. You want to aim to keep your heart rate up for an extended period of time.
KEEP YOUR EXERCISE ROUTINE EXCITING
Yup, just like your sex life! If power walking and jogging aren't doing it for you then DIG DEEPER! Go online and search for local fitness studios and see what kind of classes they have to offer. If you have a gym membership, take a break from the gym and do a 4-week bootcamp. See what dance schools have to offer. Many renown dance academies now offer open-level dance-fitness and barre classes in professional dance studios that that will light up your inner child (...if you had dreams of being a ballerina like me). There's so much out there that's unexpectedly fun and healthy.
Here are some of my personal favorites: Aqua Fitness, Belly Dancing, Hula Hooping, Kangoo Jumping, Power Yoga, Zumba, Cardio Boxing, Bollywood Dancing and Trapezing.
Invite friends to join you. Create challenges and rewards for yourself. Warm your heart with a good cause like running a race with a charity team that fundraises for cancer research or even something related to heart disease.
SIGN UP FOR LIFE...WITHOUT SIGNING AWAY YOUR FREEDOM
Once you start seeing results from all the work and time you've put into your new fitness regimen, you'll find that you want to take better care of your body in other ways. It's a chain reaction that will change your life quickly. You'll pay more attention to what you're putting into your body and how you're working it off. It doesn't have to become an obsession. You can fall in love with working out and healthy eating and STILL dig into a slice of cheese cake with your Valentine. It's not about neglecting yourself from the things you love, like couch-time and dessert. It's about finding a balance that works for you. If you listen to it, your body will tell you what it needs. When you approach these needs with creativity and fun, you can't go wrong. Just keep moving forward and remember that it's a lifetime journey and no matter where you are in life, it's never too late to start.