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A happy heart

A healthy heart is a happy heart

Heart health is important. Do yourself a favor and incorporate these simplified ways of doing everyday tasks to save energy for active recreational activities that keep your heart healthy.

Utilize body mechanics. One of the easiest ways to save energy is to use your body correctly. This means distributing work over several sets of muscles and using the stronger ones whenever possible. By doing this, you are bound to have fewer accidents and less energy will be consumed, leaving you feeling “fresher” at the end of each day.

Pace yourself. Find a rhythmic, relaxed way of doing things and you may accomplish more than you thought you could. Also, don’t procrastinate. Allowing enough time to do complete tasks means you won’t be rushing to the finish line at the last minute. Pace yourself, walk slowly with good breathing control and you’ll notice a definite decrease in stress levels as well. Stress management is a key component to heart health.

Be at peace. Control of mind can be more difficult to achieve than control of the body, but it is well worth the effort. Train yourself to accept things you cannot change and you will have more energy to change the things you can control.

Simplify work. Plan ahead as much as possible to minimize stress. Balance your work week by spreading out the heavy tasks and adding some of the lighter tasks in between. Make a schedule daily and allow for short rest periods between activities throughout the day to reset your mind. Organize the equipment at your work station and throw away things you do not use.

When tackling individual tasks, break down the operation into steps and figure out the most efficient way of accomplishing the task. Do them in the same way each time as repetition will make you more proficient and save time and energy. When you work more efficiently, you reduce the strain on your heart and cardiovascular system. Plus, you’ll minimize fatigue, shortness of breath and back pain, prevent injury and increase your energy level.

Breathe easy. Slow, deep breathing is relaxing and helps slow and smooth out body motion. Avoid taking short, jerky breaths or holding the breath when using the arms or when in a hurry. Slow, deep breathing uses more of your lungs and gets more oxygen into your blood. Once you master these tips, use that extra energy at the end of the day to engage in heart-healthy activities like walking instead of watching TV. For more heart-healthy fitness ideas, browse the Fitness Index.

Lisa Chaphe is an occupational therapist at Piedmont Fayette Hospital with 24 years of experience. She has lived in Fayette County for 11 years with her husband and two children, who are now in high school.  

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