Heart healthy, what does it mean? When you reference your heart are you talking about the actual beating organ inside your chest? Or that place in the center of your chest where all of your emotions seem to let themselves loose?
This month I’m talking not just about your physical beating heart and its health, but the one where all those crazy emotions reside as well. You know exercise is good for preventing different heart disease and conditions, right? Such as preventing hypertension and reducing your blood pressure, preventing and reducing coronary artery disease, it reduces the amount of LDL (or lethal cholesterol) in your blood, and various other effects to reduce your chances of having a heart attack or developing congestive heart failure (Myers, 2003). Did you know that exercising is also good for your emotional heart?
The CDC states that approximately 1 in 10 adult’s report depression. That means 10% of our population. There are varying degrees and types of depression, but this is still a large sum of the U.S. population. According to the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) 18.1% of all U.S. adults are diagnosed with some form of anxiety. Anxiety and depression can cause major issues in a person’s quality of life and day to day living. Even if you are not classified under one of these categories, chances are you experience high stress living in a society that must constantly be going, but not necessarily exercising.
Quite a few theories out there have tried to tell you why exercise works. The most popular theory is the endorphin theory. I’m here to tell you, sadly, those endorphins cannot go across the blood brain barrier so that theory is false. However, the proof is inevitable; if you exercise it helps your mood. For me? It has a lot to do with the way my body feels so free and light afterwards and how my brain processes so much during that time. At the end of a work out whether it be 5 minutes or 2 hours, my body feels like its accomplished something and my brain has processed a great deal. For others, they benefit from the time they had to completely zone out and think about nothing. In the end though, studies show that exercise not only helps your mood, but also your energy levels.
The benefits of exercise are endless to both your physical and emotional heart. So what form of exercise makes you feel the best emotionally afterwards? A long run? Dancing? An intense house cleaning? Yard work? Power walking through the mall?
For me it’s a nice intense match of tennis or a long interval run. Afterwards my head is clearer, my muscles are more relaxed, and I often have a new outlook on life.
Get your blood pumping for your heart health!