Sun | May 26, 2024

Your heart for Valentine’s Day

Published:Wednesday | February 8, 2023 | 12:45 AMKeisha Hill/Senior Gleaner Writer
Take care of your heart on Valentine’s Day, and every day.
Take care of your heart on Valentine’s Day, and every day.
Gradually build up to at least 30 minutes of activity on most or all days of the week to help with your heart health.
Gradually build up to at least 30 minutes of activity on most or all days of the week to help with your heart health.
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The month of February marks the beginning for the celebration of love. Valentine’s Day is the day when we make sincere efforts to spend time with our loved ones with candlelight dinners, romantic getaways and extravagant gestures. This day gives us the perfect opportunity to express our love and affection to all our loved ones.

Over centuries, philosophers and poets have described love in volumes, yet every love that we find is unique. It is exceptionally important to love ourselves to be capable of loving others.

Love comes in different forms, and they all are special. Be it a relationship which you have with yourself, your spouse, parent, friend or even your pet. Showering someone with gifts is one way, but as we all know, there is no greater gift than the gift of health. So, why not make a wish for the longevity and good health of one another.

Does the love of your life make your heart beat a little faster and your body temperature rise? So does exercise and athletic training!

By exercising for as little as 30 minutes a day, you can reduce your risk of heart disease by 30 per cent to 40 per cent, and your risk of having a stroke by 25 per cent. Medical research even shows that for every minute of walking, you may increase your life expectancy by seven minutes!

For Valentine’s Day, here are some heart-healthy exercise tips:

MAKE THE TIME

• Start slowly. Gradually build up to at least 30 minutes of fitness activity on most or all days of the week (or whatever your doctor recommends).

• Exercise at the same time of day so it becomes a regular part of your lifestyle. For example, you might walk every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 12 noon to 12:30 p.m.

• Find a convenient time and place to do activities. Try to make it a habit, but be flexible. If you miss an exercise opportunity, work the activity into your day another way.

• Keep reasonable expectations of yourself.

• If you have been sedentary for a long time, are overweight or need to maintain weight management, have a high risk of coronary heart disease or some other chronic health problem, see your doctor for a medical evaluation before beginning a physical activity programme.

• Look for chances to be more active during the day. Walk the mall before shopping, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or take 10- to 15-minute breaks from watching television or sitting, to go walking or to participate in some other activity.

MAKE IT FUN

• Choose activities that are fun, not exhausting. Add variety. Develop a repertoire of several activities that you can enjoy. That way, fitness will never seem boring or routine.

• Ask family and friends to join you. You will be more likely to stick with it if you have company. Join an exercise group or fitness facility. There are even programmes specifically for tween and teens to have fun and make new friends, while combatting childhood obesity and maintaining your weight-management programme.

• Use variety to keep your interest up. Walk one day, swim the next, then go for a bike ride on the weekend.

• Use music to keep you entertained.

TRACK AND CELEBRATE YOUR SUCCESS

• Note your activities on a calendar or in a logbook. Write down the distance or length of time of your activity and how you feel after each session.

• Reward yourself at special milestones. Nothing motivates like success!

Valentine’s Day comes just once a year, but your heart needs daily attention. Celebrate it by beginning a heart-healthy exercise regimen, not only for your health, but also for the sake of your loved ones.

keisha.hill@gleanerjm.com

SOURCE: American Heart Association, The Heart Foundation of Jamaica