As EMS providers, we try to do a good job caring for patients who are experiencing heart problems, but how often do we think about our own hearts, or our overall health for that matter? Life is busy—it’s easy to get caught up in everyday tasks, but it’s important to find the time to think of ways to be heart healthy.
You can start by eating a heart healthy diet, which includes walnuts, whole grains, salmon, dark green leafy vegetables, dark chocolate and berries to name a few. Another way we can keep our heart strong is through cardiovascular exercise. You don’t have to be a marathon runner and cover 26 miles every day, but it’s important to just get up and keep moving for at least 30 minutes a day.
Here’s a simple cardio and core workout that you can do first thing when you get up, to get your heart pumping. The nice part about this workout is that there are a few ways to complete it. If you’re new to exercise or don’t have a lot of time in the morning, but want to do something, just complete the workout once. It will take you just over 10 minutes, giving you the option to do something later in the day, like going for 30-minute walk or for a hike after dinner instead of sitting in front of the TV. The workout can easily be modified for those who want to work up more of a sweat, simply by either increasing the time of each exercise or by completing the circuit at least two additional times.
Your New Cardiovascular/Core Workout
Complete each exercise for 30 seconds, rest 10 seconds, then repeat that exercise for another 30 seconds—or skip the break and complete each exercise for a minute.
- Speed skaters
- Wide to narrow quick feet
- Jumping jacks
- Twist and punch, using high and low punches
- Butt kicks
- Squat jumps
- While standing, lift your right knee to touch your left elbow, then lift your left knee to touch your right elbow, alternating every 30 seconds.
- Plank jacks
- Mountain climbers
- Bicycle crunches
There are plenty of additional things you can do to this workout to keep moving: Take a brisk walk for at least 30 minutes about 3–5 times a week or instead of driving when you have to run simple errands, hop on that bicycle that’s sitting in your garage instead—think of the gas money you could save! Boxing and kickboxing a few times a week is another great option. It’s not only good for exercise, but it’s fun, and it’s also a great way to work off stress.
Good luck, have fun, and stay healthy!
Heart healthy workout: Wide to narrow quick feet
Heart healthy workout: Bicycle crunches (with optional weights for a more strenuous workout)