A Healthy Heart is a Happy Heart

Did you know…according to the Center for Disease Control heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for men and women and costs the country ~$219 billion each year. However, I want to keep this lighthearted!  It is no secret that the month February is heavily associated with the celebration of Valentine’s Day and love.  No matter how you choose the celebrate Valentine’s Day, it is important to take some time out of the day to give your own heart some love by exercising and keeping your own heart strong and healthy. Other than walking, hiking, running, biking or swimming, here are some quick exercises to do at your desk or home to get your heart pumping:

  1. High knees:

While standing, have your feet shoulder-width apart. Lift your right knee up to the waist level and drop your foot slowly down. Repeat with left leg and continue to alternate legs until time is up. This exercise is also known as standing marching in place.

  • Butt kickers:

While standing, have your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your right knee like you are jogging and kick your right heel back towards your right buttocks. Repeat with your left leg and continue to alternate legs until time is up.

  • Jumping jacks:

Start by standing straight with your feet together and hands down by your thighs. Next, jump with your feet spread sideways and swing arms above your head simultaneously. Jump back to starting position.

  • Chair squats:

Start in a standing position with feet shoulder width apart and with chair/couch seat behind you (arms may be placed as shown, crossed over your chest or hands on front of hips). First, hinge (bend) your hips back as though you were going to sit back into the chair, bend your knees and slowly lower your bottom towards the chair seat. It is important to sit BACK with your hips so that your bent knees do not go past your toes. Before your bottom hits the chair, squeeze your bottom and thighs as you straighten both legs and fully stand up.

Start out by completing each exercise for one set of 15-20 seconds with rest breaks in between each exercise. To challenge yourself you can:

-Increase the speed at which you complete the exercises

-Decrease the amount of or time of rest breaks between each exercise

-Gradually increase the time in increments of 5-10 seconds per exercise

-Increase the number of sets you complete

Over time, your endurance will build, and your heart will be happier and healthier!

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