Movement March: How Moving More Leads to Better Heart Health

 In Arizona Heart Foundation Blog, AZ Heart Foundation News

Getting out and moving about is one of the best things you can do for your heart health, and you don’t need to be running marathons or scaling mountaintops to reap the benefits. Even a seemingly small amount of exercise can lead to significant heart and health benefits, with all types of movement helping boost energy levels, brain activity and even your current mood.

Most people admit they feel great after a workout, but for many, taking that first step toward the gym, the track or the pool is the challenging part. So, next time you start talking yourself out of hopping on the bike or hitting the gym, know that staying active helps you reap the following rewards.

Woman meditating while sitting in the grass

Improved mental health

While moving your body helps strengthen it in the physical sense, it also helps you build mental toughness. This remains true regardless of whether you’re pushing your body to its limits or taking a simple stroll around your neighborhood. Staying active releases endorphins, which boost your mood, and it also helps reduce and relieve stress by helping you channel your emotions in a positive manner.

Enhanced productivity at work

Studies show that working out and moving your body also enhances productivity. Research shows that employees who partake in vigorous physical activity during their off-hours – even just once a week – take about half as many sick days as workers who lead more sedentary lifestyles.

Boosted immune system

While performing moderate exercise is a great way to kick your metabolism into high gear, it also does the same for your immune system. A study of women between the ages of 50 and 75 showed that performing 45 minutes of cardio five days a week cut their chances of catching the common cold by 33%.

Woman sleeping peacefully in bed

More restful sleep

Working out – even at moderate levels – is also proven to help you get more shuteye. Research shows that women who are 60 and older and walk or dance for at least an hour four times weekly sleep an average of 48 minutes longer each night than their more sedentary peers.

 

These are just some of the many heart and health benefits that come from moving your body – and here are some of the easiest, most enjoyable ways we’ve found to stay active!

 

Spend more time on your feet

Most fitness trackers and smartwatches have features that track how often you stand during the day. They do so because standing requires more muscles than sitting, making it a more effective means of burning calories. Consider investing in a stand-up desk if you spend the majority of your day sitting at a computer, or make a point to get up and move around at least once an hour to help combat the consequences of spending too much time sitting.

Take the stairs, skip the drive-thru

It might surprise you to see just how many opportunities you have to sneak in a few minutes of motion each day – without making any major changes to your schedule. If you work on a higher floor, forgo using the elevator in favor of taking the stairs. Similarly, rather than use the drive-thru to get your morning coffee, consider parking in the furthest corner of the lot and then making your way inside on foot.

Woman wearing headphones and dancing

Dance your way to better hear health

If you count yourself among those who wait until the last minute to take care of household chores, try cranking up the music and dancing. Studies show that dancing boosts mental health and overall mood, and it also helps diminish stress levels. So, find a playlist that gets you moving and grooving and experience health benefits without even realizing it.

Take calls to the streets

Listening in on a conference call? Why not walk and talk? When possible, taking work or personal calls outdoors – and covering ground while you converse – helps you kill two birds with one stone.

Not everyone enjoys the same type of exercise, and that’s totally fine! By finding what works for you and injecting some or all of these tips into your daily or weekly routine, you can burn more calories, boost your heart health, sleep better at night and give yourself your best shot at a long, healthy and happy life.

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