American Heart Month: Know Your Numbers

We're rocking our way through this first quarter! Hope you're working on making this an AMAZING year.

We're settling into our new workout space in NE Portland and had a great time with everyone at our Super Bowl Workout this past Sunday. We'll have an album up on Facebook tomorrow with pics from the event.

February is American Heart Month. This is a great time to focus on doing everything you can to keep your heart healthy and strong. The American Heart Association recommends monitoring these 3 numbers to assess your cardiac risk: 
  1. Blood pressure (optimal is below 120/80)
  2. Cholesterol level (200 mg/dL or lower)
  3. Waist size (women less than 35, men less than 40)
Here are some quick tips to encourage healthy habits for healthy numbers:

  1. Do cardiovascular exercise 30 minutes at least 3 times per week. Whether you walk, run, bike, swim or workout at Wildfire Fitness, make sure you do something and do it regularly.
  2. Manage your stress. Stress is a normal part of life but it's important to find healthy ways to manage it. Exercise, get a massage, meditate, talk it out with a trusted friend, pause for some deep breathing. And, remember that under no circumstance should you stress eat. Eating in response to an intense situation does nothing for your health or waistline except make you sad and more stressed when your clothes no longer fit or your health is poorly affected. 
  3. Go to sleep. Growth hormones are released during sleep that help our bodies make the most of our workouts physiologically. Sleep also regulates the hormones released (or not) that make us want to EAT at night. Additionally, sleep helps us to wind down, and relax; another way to help manage stress. 
  4. Instead of counting calories, count your exercise. More muscle mass equals a higher metabolism. A higher metabolism equals more calories burned, and therefore better weight management overall. This is especially important since as we age we lose muscle mass with each decade while gaining more fat.
  5. Get over it. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you make instead of beating yourself up.  If you miss a workout or eat poorly, for instance, it's done. Speed bump right over it and pick up where you left off. Dwelling on it might only lead to a downward spiral that only takes you longer to recover from. Focus on positive affirmations and MOVE ON!
BONUS TIP: Establish long-term changes that you can sustain. Healthy habits are worth their weight in gold. Once you create habits that support the "you" you want to be it can last a life time. People who yo-yo diet or binge workout really haven't made choices they can live with as a part of their "normal" lives, so their results are less than stellar. Just think, you wouldn't dare miss a day of brushing your teeth, right? Or, I hope, or skip the shower for long periods? Habits that are a part of who you are last. So find things that you enjoy both in terms of activity and eating styles, and you'll stick to it. 

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