Try one tip a day for four weeks to improve your heart health.
- Park and walk. How many times have you circled the parking lot to find “the” spot? Spare yourself the stress and gain more energy by parking far away (or even in a remote lot) and walking farther to your destination.
- Skip the cake, say goodbye to pie and take a family walk after dinner. You’ll get a reward that’s sweeter than dessert: more time together.
- Warm up before you work out. If you plan to run, start by walking. Then walk fast, and speed up to a jog to increase your heart rate. When you aren’t active your muscles are cooler and tighter. Go easy on them by letting them gradually get loose and warm instead of making them go straight from cold to hot.
- Stretch after every workout to help prevent injury or strain. Pick two or three of your favorite songs to play while you stretch — and don’t stop until they’re over. The minutes will speed by and you’ll get all the stretching you need.
- Hydrate! Water is your friend. The harder and longer you work out, the more you need. Did you know that 70 percent of your body is made of water? Make sure to replace whatever water you sweat out after each workout. Your body needs it.
- Don’t get stuck in a workout rut. Try and incorporate a new physical activity every few weeks to stay motivated and make sure your workout is working. Try different activities and sports to keep your body guessing and to improve your fitness. Try these tips to staying motivated to work out.
- Take the stairs. The elevator may go up — but it doesn’t make your heart rate climb. Take the stairs instead. You may huff and puff at first, but over time, your body will thank you.
- Dance! Do it in a ballroom, at a club or even in your living room. You’ll burn calories and gain a new hobby.
- Shake up the after-school routine. Limit screen time, including TV and video games, to less than 2 hours a day. Encourage your kids to go for a bike ride or shoot some hoops before starting on their homework. They’ll feel better and think better!
- Give up bad habits. Too much alcohol, cigarettes or caffeine can increase stress. If you smoke, decide to quit now.
- Slow down and stress less. Try to pace instead of race. Plan ahead and allow enough time to get the most important things done.
- Get enough sleep and cut the stress. Try to get six to eight hours of sleep each night. If you can’t sleep, take steps to help reduce stress and depression. Physical activity may also help you sleep better.
- Get organized to lessen your stress. Use to-do lists to help you focus on your most important tasks. Approach big tasks one step at a time. For example, start by organizing just one part of your life — your car, desk, kitchen, closet, cupboard or drawer.
- Tune into fitness during TV time. Reject your inner couch potato. Walk, jog in place or use the treadmill at the gym while you watch your favorite 30-minute show.
- Wear a pedometer. To increase your physical activity, wear a pedometer for a week or two to find out how many steps you take on average each day. Then every two weeks increase your daily average by 500 steps. Before you know it, you’ll hit 10,000 steps a day!
- Master the art of typing while on a treadmill by securing the laptop to the base. Be creative to fit in fitness while you work!
- Create a physical activity accountability partner. The coworker who always holds you to your deadlines can serve double duty by helping you reach your fitness goals.
- Get busy when you travel for business. See the sights in new cities by walking, jogging or bicycling. If you will be spending a lot of time in an airport, walk while you wait! Many airports now have designated walking paths that travelers can use while they're waiting for their flights.
- Join a fitness center near your job. Work out before or after work to avoid rush-hour traffic, or drop by for a lunchtime workout.
- Get active at work. Many adults spend the majority of their day at work. Add some physical activity to your work day by taking 5 minute stretch breaks throughout the day, scheduling walking meetings when possible, or standing during conference calls.