Hone your heart health with movement and nutrition

Posted on by Lauren Updyke. This entry was posted in Being Active, Staying Healthy and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

I have always loved to move my body because it’s fun. I kept active as a kid through recreational sports, cross country skiing with my mom, neighborhood bike rides with friends, swimming at the lake in summer. I was an athlete in high school and college. And now, in my mid-40s, I move during every window of opportunity for my health and wellness. 

Being physically active is crucial to our overall health throughout our life and especially as we age. Cardiovascular health is one of the keys to success in longevity! 

What is cardiovascular health? 

Cardiovascular health is the well-being of your heart and blood vessels that transport oxygen and nutrients throughout our bodies. In a healthy cardiovascular system, there is efficient blood flow, healthy blood pressure and a strong, well-functioning heart.  

How can you achieve and maintain cardiovascular health? 

There are several healthy behaviors that lead to a healthy heart: 

1. Increase your physical activity 

According to the American Heart Association, exercising 30 minutes a day, five days a week will improve your heart health and help reduce your risk of heart disease by about 19 percent. Aerobic exercise improves the body’s circulation, which results in lowered blood pressure and heart rate.

You can get moving with The Whole U through our:

2. Avoid or quit smoking 

Smoking causes the formation of plaque in the blood vessels which can decrease the amount of oxygen and increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.  If you are interested in quitting smoking, here are some great resources and support. 3.

3. Enjoy nutritious food 

Nutrition can impact your heart’s overall health. Learn how to eat well and fuel your body properly from these recent articles in The Whole U on: 

What is cardiovascular endurance? 

Cardiovascular endurance, or aerobic fitness, is how well your heart and lungs can supply the oxygen you need while you exercise at medium to high intensity.  

Why is cardiovascular endurance important? 

Strong cardiovascular endurance allows your body to move your blood efficiently so you can get more oxygen to your cells. This oxygen serves as an energy source to fuel the cells in your tissues and muscles. If you enjoy playing sports, hiking, swimming or long-distance running, you will feel better doing these activities when you have a higher level of cardiovascular endurance. 

How can you improve cardiovascular endurance? 

Consistent aerobic exercise will improve your cardiovascular health.  As you become fitter you can start to increase the intensity of your workout for short and long periods of time called interval training.  Increasing the distance or time of aerobic exercise can also improve your cardiovascular endurance. 

Train with The Whole U 

Try training for a 5K, Half Marathon or Full Marathon with The Whole U and increase your cardiovascular endurance.  These plans progress realistically and are for all fitness levels. 

Additional heart health resources:  

Learn from Right as Rain how UW cardiologists take care of their hearts and, from The Whole U, what physicians from The UW Heart Institute have to say about heart health.

The bottom line is that your cardiovascular health and fitness is very important.  Not only are our hearts meant to love, but they are also meant to be loved and cared for! 

The Whole U is always here to support your journey to health and fitness. Email us anytime with questions: thewholeu@uw.edu