If you think you’re too busy, too pregnant or too tired to focus on living heart healthy, then you’re not alone. New mamas and moms-to-be are often short on time and energy. The good news? You don’t have to spend hours on the treadmill or overhaul your life—small changes count too. Here are five ways to keep your ticker in tip top shape while also improving your overall health.
1. Take a 10-minute walk: Get moving! Take your bump (or baby) for a short stroll and get your blood circulating. Better yet, take a few walks a day to lower your blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association, three 10-minute walks are more effective than one 30-minute walk. So lace up those sneakers and get to steppin’!
2. Eat this and that: To boost the nutritive value of what you’re already eating, try incorporating more fruits and veggies in your meals and snacks. Make your pizza tastier and healthier by adding fresh toppings like spinach and avocado. Fruits are sweet and satisfying. Here are a few, quick smoothie recipes that are sure to bring a smile to your sipper.
3. Use your body: Your body weight, that is. You don’t need fancy equipment to build muscle. Strength training helps your heart work more efficiently. More muscles burn more calories, which help keep your weight in check—and a healthy weight supports a healthy heart. Modified push-ups, lunges and yoga poses are particularly good for expecting moms. Use what you got and reap the rewards.
4. Bring it down a notch: Yes, you, Ms. I-gotta-be-in-12-places-at-once. Taking time to relax and reduce stress is not only good for your heart, it’s good for you and baby too. Anxiety and a too-busy lifestyle may be common, but they’re anything but healthy. Make time to unwind. You could start by taking a 10-minute walk. Sound familiar?
5. Stop, drop and dream: Get some sleep. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but remember there is no substitute. (We’re talking about you, caffeine!) Adequate sleep (more than six hours a night) not only allows our bodies to repair themselves, but also reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Luckily, the sleep-deprived newborn days don’t last long enough to have significant, long-term health effects. However, resuming a normal sleep schedule and soon as you can is important. So turn in a little earlier tonight and hit the sack for your health, mama.
For more information on keeping your heart healthy and supporting the fight against heart disease and stroke, visit Go Red For Women.