Heart Health and Physical Therapy . . . Secrets to Staying Active

February 23rd, 2021

The heart is an amazing organ, beating almost THREE billion times over the course of an average lifetime. It pumps millions of gallons of blood to every part of the body and its steady flow carries with it oxygen while whisking away waste products of metabolism. That is why the impact of heart disease is so significant since it affects quality of life and eventually can result in essential functions failing. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in United States.

But there is good news!! Lifestyle changes can make a difference. Understanding the impact of lifestyle (smoking, overeating or eating unhealthy food, moving more) plays an important role in improving your heart health. Don’t wait until your physician tells you it’s time to exercise. Take pre-emptive action and start moving. In honor of American Heart Month, your friends at Chiron want to give some “secrets” / simple tips you can add to your daily lifestyle that can allow for more physical activity without necessarily having to hit the gym:

Secret #1:  Take the longer and more difficult route.

We generally try to get from one point to another in the quickest way possible. We take elevators, we park as close to entrance as possible and we enter and exit the doors nearest to us. Other than saving time, these actions do not add any long-term value. With that, try making it a habit to take the stairs at work or to park at the back of your grocery store’s parking lot. These simple acts can add significantly more physical activity to your daily life.

Secret #2:  Trick yourself into getting up more often.

Ideally, we’re supposed to get up and move around every 30-60 minutes throughout the day to initiate stronger blood flow and to allow our bodies to stretch and warm up. But how many of us actually do that? (The answer … not many J).

However, you can achieve this by tricking yourself into getting up more often. Maybe you use a smaller glass for your water than usual, so you have to get up and go to the sink every time you finish it. Or, maybe you can stand while you are on the phone. While it may not seem like much, standing is significantly healthier than sitting. You burn more calories by standing, and it is incredibly helpful to your posture as it decreases the ability to slouch or hunch over. It also helps in keeping blood sugar steady after a meal, and it encourages more movement overall.

Secret #3:  Do chores every day.

By doing chores for 20 or 30 minutes a day organizational experts believe you can achieve a cleaner and healthier lifestyle. In addition, you can also get a bit of a workout in! Vacuuming, doing dishes, taking out the trash, and doing laundry all demand physical activity. By taking time out of the day to do chores around the house, you’ll be able to get exercise AND do the tidying up that you’ve been putting off. Win/win!

Secret #4:  Don’t procrastinate in seeking physical therapy treatments.

Physical therapy is helpful in addressing the aches and pains that may keep you from pursuing your active lifestyle. Many physical therapy sessions are also workouts in themselves, meaning that you’ll be getting physical activity by attending your treatments. Your Chiron family can also be used as a great resource when looking for advice on remaining active and adding more exercise into your daily habits.

As your physical therapists, we are committed to helping you live a healthy lifestyle brimming with energy and abundance. A strong healthy heart is the first step and we stand ready to help you.