February is the month for love. And with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, this article roundup takes health to heart.
Cardiovascular fitness, sometimes called aerobic fitness, is your body’s ability to transport and use oxygen. When you are more cardiovascularly fit, your body – specifically your heart – is more efficient. When your heart is more efficient, it doesn’t have to work as hard to provide the oxygen your body needs to function and survive.
What does that mean to you? An article from Livestrong.com sums it up easily, “According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, cardiovascular fitness is linked to a reduction in blood pressure, reduced risk of developing coronary heart disease, lowered incidence of diabetes, decreased risk of stroke and heart attack, lower fat mass, increased bone mass, improved energy levels and greater resistance to illness and fatigue. These benefits are attributed to cardiovascular exercise as much as they are cardiovascular fitness. Benefits decline if exercise is not regular and consistent.”
So, we now know how important cardiovascular fitness is – now you can find out just how healthy your heart is. CLICK HERE for the American Heart Association’s “My Life Check” assessment and find out where you stand and how you can live a heart-healthier life.
Want more ways to improve your heart health? Fitbie gives us 50 – count them – 50 ways to improve heart health. CLICK HERE for the article (and try to overlook the fact that this list somehow morphed into a giant Quaker Oats commercial).
We’ve got the tips now, so what about the workouts?!
Most of us know that yoga helps us to stretch and strengthen. But did you know that yoga can help you get Heart-Healthy? Yoga helps to lower blood pressure and helps participants manage stress. This American Heart Association article gives an in-depth look into how yoga can improve your heart-health – CLICK HERE to read more. And to try yoga for yourself – join us for one of our classes! Message us for details.
Want an easy way to rev-up your cardio workout? Try adding intervals. CLICK HERE for information from the Mayo Clinic on Interval Training and how it can improve aerobic capacity. The best thing is that you can add intervals to ANY workout. Need help? Ask us!
And check out our fitness tips for exercises including a new “Circuit Buster” series with exercises that can help you take your workout to the next level.
Now for the fun – No Valentine’s Day is complete without a little chocolate. And guess what?! Dark Chocolate has antioxidants that help reduce the risk factors for heart disease. Now that’s a Valentine’s gift!
But don’t go hog wild yet – make sure to use these guidelines from the Mayo Clinic: “Choose dark chocolate with cocoa content of 65 percent or higher. Limit yourself to around 3 ounces (85 grams) a day, which is the amount some studies have shown to be helpful. Because this amount may provide up to 450 calories, you may want to cut calories in other areas or step up the exercise to compensate.” Want more info on possible health benefits from chocolate? CLICK HERE
Want lots and lots – did I say lots? – of chocolate recipes? Click Here for a Chocolate Calzone recipe from Teaspoon Communications, and be sure to scroll down the page for links to lots of chocolate recipes in celebration of Valentine’s Day. And I must thank our friend Regan and her blog, The Professional Palate, for leading me to this treasure trove of chocoholic recipes.
Looking for Valentine’s Day Treats & Recipes that are Healthy? Look no further:
EatingWell.com provides us with Valentine’s Recipes & Menus.
And SheKnows.com gives us recipes for Healthy Valentine’s Day Treats, including one for tiramisu that looks super good.
Last but not least, check out one of my absolute favorite websites – SkinnyTaste.com – for their Valentine’s Day Recipes. The one that caught my eye and I may have to try myself is a recipe for Dark Chocolate Chunk Bread Pudding.
Have other Valentine’s related health, fitness & nutrition related information you want to share? Let us know in the comments – we’d love to hear from you!