After a long January it finally feels like I’m getting in the groove of a New Year, and while I’m not one to make New Years resolutions, this year I vowed to get outside more and take my heart health a little more seriously. Now’s the perfect time to talk about heart health as well because February’s already here and it’s Heart and Stroke Awareness month. I feel like I spend a lot of time on my feet in a day and I was starting to get curious if I was hitting at least 10,000 steps per day, so when my husband came home with a fitness tracker for me a while back I was pretty excited and I’m sure I’m still driving him crazy with my daily stat updates. Having and maintaining a healthy heart is one of my goals for this year and the future.
Get moving for a healthy heart
A healthy heart doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in a gym, walking up to 30 minutes a day at least 5 days a week is plenty and one way you can help hold yourself accountable is with a fitness tracker. The one my husband chose for me is the Fitbit Charge 3 Fitness Tracker with Heart Rate Monitor and I’m kind of obsessed with it now. It helps me keep my overall health on my mind, and besides tracking my heart rate, my favourite feature is that it picks up any significant exercise I do, and I can then log into my app and see my stats. It lets me know how many minutes of active exercise I did and the changes in my heart rate and how long I was in fat burn and cardio mode.
Another option to track your heart rate besides a fitness tracker is by wearing a smartwatch. The Apple Watch Series 4 and Apple Watch Series 5 offer ECG sensor (Electrical heart sensor), in addition to an updated optical heart sensor as well as many safety features such as high or low rate notifications, fall detection, and emergency SOS. One of the other options is the Garmin Vivosmart 4 takes heart rate readings and also measures blood oxygen levels!
Alternately you can take the route of a wireless heart rate monitor such as chest strap monitors like this Qardio QardioCore Wireless Heart Rate Monitor with ECG. It’s wireless and patchless which makes it comfortable to wear and it tracks your heart rate, heart rate variability, skin temperature, and respiratory rate to improve the detection of vital cardiac conditions. Its design is to specifically help you monitor cardiac conditions and it can share data in real time with your doctor or care provider. You’ll want to also take advantage of the Qardio App which will track your heart heath metrics.
Maintain a healthy body
I personally believe that being conscious of what you’re putting in your body in the form of foods and liquids is top priority when it comes to heart health. A healthy diet that offers a variety of healthy fats, carbohydrates and proteins will make your heart happy. This doesn’t mean you can’t splurge on your favourite treat, it just means your favourite treat shouldn’t be for every meal, or even every day. My weakness is a really good french fry and you can be sure I do have them, just not every day because they are deep fried and salty which are two things that are not good for your heart health.
I am not a huge eater and sometimes I find it hard to get in all the daily requirements. A fantastic option to help ensure you’re getting a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals is by making a shake or smoothie. Vega offers a few supplements that you can add to them to take them to the next level and help ensure your body and heart is at optimal performance.
While it seems like many of us don’t concern ourselves with what the numbers on a scale say, I think it’s important to have an idea of your body weight. With a smart scale you can take it one step further by monitoring your BMI or body Mass Index, your muscle mass, bone mass and water percentage. This Withings Body+ Wi-Fi Smart Scale & Body Analyzer will monitor all of these things and will help you see the progress you’re making over time. Download the Heart Mate App on your Android or iPhone so that every weigh in information will automatically be sent to your phone for easy tracking.
Carrying extra weight on our bodies, especially around our waistline can lead to many health problems such as high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes and chronic health conditions. A range of connected health sensors and monitors are available to help keep track of your heart rate, blood glucose levels, blood oxygen levels, blood pressure, and more.
Lower your blood pressure
High blood pressure can lead to thickening and hardening of the arteries and increases your chance of a heart attack or stroke. Besides walking and other forms of exercise there are other things you can do to help lower your blood pressure. Stress is a huge factor in fluctuating blood pressure and learning to manage your stress is good for both mind and body. Meditation is one way to shut off your brain, be in the moment and relax and it can look different for each person.
Lucky for me I have no problem relaxing and having some downtime each day, but I know it can be really difficult for many. The Muse 2 Brain-Sensing Headband is the perfect tool for anyone who wants to learn how to meditate or take their meditation experience to the next level. It provides real-time feedback on brain activity, heart rate, breath and body movements. You’ll need to download the Muse App onto your smartphone, pair the device and from there follow step-by-step directions to complete a focused meditation session.
In my house we don’t necessarily meditate in a typical way, but my youngest son who has a hard time shutting down at bedtime has found that listening to meditation music on Youtube helps him fall asleep, and he has me hooked too. Explore the complete range of relaxation and sleep aids to help you wind down and get a good night’s sleep.
It’s really important to think and talk about our heart health. Age is just a number and your heart doesn’t care if you’re 18 or 88, it needs to be taken care of at all ages to help you maintain your overall health and well being.
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