By Stu Kershner PT, OCS
Did you know that February is Heart Disease Awareness Month? Makes sense, with the top holiday of the month being Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, the CDC says that heart disease is the leading cause of death among both men and women, so this is probably a good time to be thinking about your heart and what you can do to lower that risk!
The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity a week, or an equivalent combination. Sounds easy, right? Just five workouts of 30 minutes a week. Well, our society has become more and more sedentary. The average American employee works 47 hours per week at their full-time job and sedentary jobs have increased by 80% since 1950. So how do you fit in those 150 minutes a week? Here are three strategies to achieve your heart health:
- Make it a priority. You only get one body to work with, so your health is incredibly important. To take care of your body, you need to make the time. My preference is to schedule it into my weekly calendar, just like a meeting or an appointment.
- Make it FUN! Choose an activity that you really enjoy so it seems less like a chore and more like an opportunity to do something you look forward to. Personally, I love to get outside – run, walk, bike, hike. It doesn’t matter to me, I find a way to get it in. If it’s too cold, I stay inside and play “cardio roulette”! I only spend 10 minutes on any single cardio machine, but I jump from treadmill to elliptical to stair stepper to rower to bike. Then I’m not stuck on any single piece of equipment that I dislike.
- Be Creative. Does your schedule only let you work out on the weekends? Do you like to weight train and feel like you can’t fit the cardio part in? There are lots of ways to get enough exercise two days a week to make up for a sedentary workweek. Do a circuit workout for your weight training so that you keep your heart rate elevated while you strength train.
Personally, I like to have a goal and I like to take on a challenge. Last year I participated in a running relay race called Ragnar. Our team trained together and got to spend a weekend in Aspen for the race and it was a lot of fun. This year I’ll likely sign up for a road race, a mountain bike event or a triathlon. Once I have a deadline for that race, I can form a training calendar. The calendar keeps me on track and the looming event date keeps me motivated.
Think about your goal or your strategy to achieve your goals, keep your heart healthy and reduce your risk of the leading cause of death in the US!
Stuart is passionate about helping people reach their goals and overcome their obstacles. After injuring his elbow playing baseball at age 13, he went on to rehab and return to his favorite sport. This sparked his interest in helping people recover from injury and return to the activities they love. He blends his rehab knowledge as a physical therapist with his fitness and coaching skills, to help his clients by avoiding and recovering from injuries and reaching their ultimate fitness goals. Besides personal training, Stu loves to spend time with his wife and two boys while being active outdoors.
NASM Certified Personal Trainer
Orthopedic Certified Specialist
Work with Stu: [email protected]