Walk More to Keep Your Heart Healthy (and Happy!)

Strengthening your heart is so important, and while many may think that running and other more vigorous forms of exercise are the only way to properly do this, walking is an activity that is just as beneficial. Studies have shown that, when it comes to heart health, walking brings about many of the same advantages as other forms of exercise, and is an activity that just about everybody can easily partake in.

Woman walking on bridge

The Health Benefits of Walking
A brisk walk each and every day will bring your body so many different benefits. Not only does this lower high cholesterol, as well as high blood pressure, but it also cuts down your risk of diabetes. All three of these conditions are risk factors when it comes to heart disease and stroke, meaning that making an improvement in this area will significantly boost the health of your heart. In addition to this, regular walking is able to prevent depression, protect against dementia, and reduce the risk of so many other health issues, from colon cancer to erectile dysfunction to obesity.

How Much Walking to Do Each Day
The American Heart Association recommends that adults need around 30 minutes of physical activity each day, and brisk walking can definitely be a large part of this. If you find 30 minutes quite challenging to begin with, start off with smaller, achievable goals, and built this up slowly as your fitness levels increase. Alternatively, you could split your 30 minutes of exercise a day into two or three sessions, walking for just 10 or 15 minutes each time.

Woman walking along beach

Ways to Incorporate Walking Into Your Life
There are many different ways in which you can incorporate more walking in your life, and the more that you do so, the more enjoyment you will gain from it too. Taking the dog for a walk is a great way to exercise the both of you, as is taking your children to the park every afternoon. If shopping is a passion of yours, spend more time window shopping, making a conscious effort to cover the entire mall in a certain amount of time. When it comes to being at work, simply park your car further away from your workplace than you normally would, so that you have some walking to do to get there, and always take the stairs rather than the elevator. Rather than spending your entire lunch break sat at a table, take some time to walk around outside, as you will also gain so many benefits from the fresh air.

Walking Shoes
If you have decided to make the commitment to start walking more, then a reliable pair of shoes is a must. Many of the major athletic brands out there offer shoes designed specifically for walkers, with everything from a shock absorbent sole to a roomy toe box. Before purchasing a pair, make sure to try on your walking shoes while you are wearing athletic socks, so that you will really know how well they fit.

Physical activity is a must, but if you do not tend to enjoy the more traditional forms of exercise, walking could be perfect for you. Not only will this keep your heart strong, while boosting many other parts of your body, but it is also an activity that is easy to squeeze into your day, no matter how busy you may be.

Anti-Aging Tips from the French

French woman with beautiful skin

With French women being known for their timeless beauty, it only makes sense to turn to them when seeking out some new anti-aging tips. From learning how they pamper their skin to borrowing some dietary advice, these tips will show you exactly how French women are able to obtain their naturally flawless complexion.

Regular Facials and Massages
Spas are extremely popular in France, and many women swear by regular facials and massages to help in their anti-aging quest. Thalassotherapy, a spa treatment that involves water jets, mud baths, seaweed wraps and sea-fog inhalation, actually originated in France, and is known for being able to tone muscles, including facial muscles, boost circulation, improve quality of sleep, and reduce cellulite.

French woman with beautiful skin

Less is More When it Comes to Makeup
The French have never been one to pile layer upon layer of makeup on their faces, and this goes a long way in keeping skin youthful and healthy. Instead of a heavy foundation, French women tend to go natural, opting for a small amount of blush instead, while those who do use a foundation will always apply it straight after their moisturizer, so that it blends in well with the skin to leave a soft, dewy and natural look.

Regular Exercise
While gyms may not be that popular in France, the French are still managing to maintain a regular amount of physical activity, and they mostly do this by walking. Rather than driving or taking a cab, spending half an hour walking to a destination is culturally preferred, with walking being a huge part of the traditional French lifestyle. While this may not seem like much, this regular physical activity is enough to bring about a wide range of anti-aging benefits.

Woman eating healthy food

Eat in Moderation
With plenty of decadent pastries and hearty, rich meals, French cuisine is not usually considered to be particularly healthy. However, the French are experts when it comes to eating in moderation, and pay close attention to portion size. An emphasis is always placed on maintaining a steady weight, as drastic weight loss or gain is never good for the body. In addition to this, the French diet always makes use of fresh produce whenever possible, and is, in a way, quite similar to the Mediterranean diet in this sense, which is known for being one of the healthiest, and most anti-aging, diets out there.

A Strict Skin Care Ritual
Many cultures around the world often turn to skin care only when there is a problem with their skin, whereas the French recognize the importance of developing a strict skin care ritual from an early age, and sticking to it throughout life. They invest heavily in skin care products, with many bathroom shelves resembling a high end skin care boutique, and take the time to figure out exactly what does, and does not, work for their skin.

Every culture around the world will have their own beauty traditions and rituals, and the French have quite a few that are definitely worth borrowing. From developing an anti-aging skin care routine to pampering your skin with regular spa treatments, these tips will help you to maintain a youthful appearance for many more years to come.

You Can Be Physically Fit

Keeping your body physically active is vital when it comes to good health, with studies showing that regular activity can go a long way when it comes to reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke, which are two of the nation’s biggest killers. From aerobic exercises that benefit the heart, to muscle strengthening activities that boost stamina and flexibility, working on building your physical fitness will bring about a range of benefits to your body.

Women exercising
Aerobic Exercises
Aerobic exercises keep the larger muscles in your arms, legs and hips moving, which, in turn, will make you breathe deeper and faster. This then increases the amount of oxygen that your blood is able to carry, and, with your heart beating faster, boosts blood flow to your muscles and lungs. Aerobic exercises will hugely benefit heart health, and there are many that you can choose from. For those who are not yet physically fit, walking is often the best aerobic exercise to start off with, as not only is it free and easy, but it is also quite a social activity. If you find yourself needing some extra motivation, there are several walking programs that you can sign up for, and these are proven to help increase success rates. Other aerobic exercises that are fantastic for the heart include biking, swimming, jogging, rowing, dancing and climbing the stairs.

Woman lifting weights
Muscle Strengthening Exercises
Engaging in exercises at least twice a week that strengthen the muscles is not only recommended by the US Department of Health and Human Services, but also by the American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine. The reason for this is due to the way in which improved muscle strength is able to prevent bones from weakening with age, otherwise known as osteoporosis, cuts back on age-related muscle loss, and boosts an individual’s range of motion. For many adults and seniors, muscle strengthening exercises are just as, if not more, important than aerobic activity, and both of these should be incorporated into your weekly schedule. There are a number of activities that can help strengthen your muscles, from yoga to weight exercises to resistance training, with each activity improving muscle strength in different ways.

Minimum Amount of Exercise Needed
While exercising every day is always going to be the most beneficial, there are different recommended amounts depending on the health issue that you are hoping to address. To give your cardiovascular health an overall boost, you should be engaging in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity over the course of the week, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. You should also be including muscle-strengthening exercises two days a week, although this should be increased if you feel that your age puts you at a higher risk. When it comes to lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, 40 minutes of activity four times a week should be sufficient, but if this seems as though it may be too challenging for you, set yourself some shorter goals and work up to the optimum amount.

For those that live a relatively sedentary lifestyle, becoming physically fit can seem like an uphill battle. However, everyone has to begin somewhere, so start off small and work your way up until you have managed to reach the fitness level that you have aspired to.

Living a Healthy Lifestyle

Woman meditating

There are a number of different factors that contribute to a healthy lifestyle, from the food that you eat to the amount that you sleep. While this may be common knowledge, putting these ideas into action is often more difficult than it might seem, so take a look at these following tips to help you get started.

Go Primal
Diet fads come and go, but the one piece of information that has never changed is that unprocessed foods are the best when it comes to staying healthy. Nicknamed as the primal diet, a diet made up of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, meat, fish and eggs is ideal, and keeping the primal imagery in mind will help you to avoid anything that is processed or filled with sugar.

Positivity
Keeping your mood uplifted is essential when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, as stress can lead to a number of different health conditions. There are many ways to bring positivity into your life, from engaging in new activities with friends, meditation and reflection, or even doing a kind deed for someone else. You should also try to laugh more, as studies have shown that not only does this keep positivity high and stress levels low, but people who laugh more usually outlive those who do not.

Woman walking

Choose to Walk
Research has shown that some of the health benefits of daily exercise include an increased life span, a reduced risk of a multitude of diseases, and higher bone density, yet this is something that many still avoid. When it comes to traveling short distances, choosing to walk over taking a form of transport can make a huge difference, as can taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

Eat the Rainbow
When it comes to fruits and vegetables, the greens are often the ones that are most heavily promoted, but you really need to be eating a wide variety. To help you to remember to do so, try to make sure that you are ‘eating the rainbow’, consuming a fruit or vegetable of each color each day, as the different colors all indicate different nutrients.

Woman sleeping

Go to Bed Earlier
The time when you are sleeping is when your body works to heal and regenerate, meaning that if you are sleep deprived, even for just a couple of nights, this can begin to take a serious toll on your health. The optimum amount of sleep is around eight hours a night, and a simple way to ensure that you are sleeping for this long is by going to bed at around 10pm, making sure that you turn off your computer and any other electronic devices, as this will drastically interfere with your sleep quality.

A healthy lifestyle does not need to be at all difficult, and it is usually possible to just tweak your current lifestyle in a few ways in order to make it slightly healthier. From spending more time planning your meals to ensure that you are eating a good variety of foods, to sticking to a strict schedule when it comes to bedtime, these tips are all easy to follow, and can have a significant improvement in your overall health.