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Have 5 Minutes Free? Love on Your Heart!

February 13, 2024 Posted in: Blogs

February is American Heart Month, designed to raise awareness about heart disease. During this month of love, can you devote five minutes a day to loving on your heart?

There’s no doubt about it. Heart health is a significant issue for Americans, with heart disease the leading cause of death among both men and women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Almost half of people in the United States have at least one risk factor for heart disease, which means protecting our hearts should be a priority.

When seeking to improve your heart health, you probably think of exercising more and eating a healthier diet. Both of those strategies can be long-term commitments to your cardiac wellness. Many people devote hours of their week to being physically active.

However, you don’t have to spend hours each day exercising or curating healthy meals to give your heart a little TLC. Five minutes at a time, spread throughout the day, is a great way to start caring for heart health. Here are a few ideas to get you started. 

Put Your Heart Into It

While our lives are often busy, small pockets of time may present themselves throughout the day. If your meeting ended a little early, take a few minutes before your next work task to take a quick walk. Waiting for dinner to come out of the oven? Spend a few minutes doing push-ups against your counter.  

The next time a five-minute break opens in your schedule, you can also try these additional quick and easy heart boosters:

Hit pause. Your heart health will benefit from a quick breather. Spend five minutes simply sitting without distractions, focusing on meditation, your breathing, a prayer or the cardinal in the tree outside the window. Stress contributes to risk factors for heart disease, and while you probably can’t get rid of all your stress, you can find healthy ways to manage it

Take the stairs. No time for a full workout? No problem! In the span of five minutes, walk up and down a flight of stairs as many times as you can. Stair-climbing is a form of aerobic exercise, often called cardio, which works your heart. Climbing stairs is also a way to strengthen muscles throughout the body, including those in your legs, backside and core. Plus, walking the stairs regularly lowers the risk of falls.

Laugh it out. Flip on a comedy special, read through some funny dad jokes online, listen to your toddler tell a story or turn on a good podcast that keeps you in stitches. Spending five minutes doing any of those things benefits your heart. Laughter is associated with multiple benefits by releasing positive endorphins, reducing stress and even boosting the immune system. 

Break out your dance moves. Turn on a favorite soundtrack and get your body moving for five minutes. Dancing can add more movement into your day and doesn’t feel like exercise. It doesn’t matter whether you have two left feet or are an expert dancer—the important thing is simply to get the whole body moving, arms and all. 

Make a yummy snack. Have five minutes before you need to leave to pick up the kids at school? You can sneak in a delicious bite that’s also a heart booster! Pair berries of any kind with a small piece of dark chocolate for a sweet treat that’s good for your heart. The antioxidants in both foods have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease.  

There’s no excuse not to give your heart a little extra love in February and beyond. All it takes is five minutes at a time.

Find a cardiologist at St. Luke’s Health.

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