Steps for a Healthy Heart

Happy February! Yes, I’ve been bad and totally stopped blogging but I’m back because February is Healthy Heart Month and Staples sent me a Jawbone UP24 to track my fitness and keep me motivated to keep my heart healthy and happy. I’ve never felt the need to use fitness trackers but I will write a review later after using it for a longer period of time. Right now, all I can say is that I LOVE the sleep tracker!

Jawbone U24
Can you find my Jawbone? it’s not exactly the prettiest device in the world but it’s accurate and does the job.

Being active doesn’t only mean spending hours at the gym but integrating fitness into your life so it comes naturally and becomes enjoyable.

I wake up every day looking forward to doing something active. I ride my bike to work 2-3 times per week but when the weather is absolutely hideous, I take public transit, which I now appreciate more than ever, because I don’t have to worry about anything (unlike driving or cycling)— that’s my downtime and I get to read or listen to music and be completely stress-free.

I live in downtown Vancouver so when I meet my friends for dinner, sometimes I will walk 20-30 minutes (in heels) to the other corner of downtown because I LOVE walking (even when it’s raining!). Whenever I go on vacation, I always walk every opportunity I get and no matter how much I pig out (eg. unlimited pasties in Paris every-fucking-day), I’ve never gained any weight. The number of steps you take daily adds up and will make a difference in your health over time (hence, the use for fitness trackers with step counters like the Jawbone UP24).

My current routine:

  • Cycling: I went on a bike diet while I was travelling from October to December but jumped right back onto my bike as soon as I was settled back into life in Vancouver. Unfortunately, I’m doing the same intensity and distance as I was doing earlier (just a lot slower and with a higher heart rate) and my muscles are not thanking me for that… but I’ve been committed to stretching and foam-rolling. Don’t want to be dealing with injuries later on!
  • I have a pretty easy cycling goal of 100km/week which should be covered by 2-3 commutes to work, a few morning rides before work and my one long weekend ride usually brings up my total to at least 150. As of right now, I’ve sacrificed one weekend day to be my “stay-at-home-and-get-shit-done” days a.k.a. no riding. But that will change when we get more sunny days. 😉
  • Gym: I’m only focused on lifting weights. I rarely do any circuit training anymore since I get way too much cardio on the bike… although I still sometimes hop on the elliptical for therapeutic means because I can blast my music and zone out. It’s a great way to escape your desk and relieve stress in the middle of a workday.
  • Food: Eating like a beast and not going to change!! I’m still eating the same amount (if not more) as I was in the summer when I was doing 3-500km/week but I think we all need some insulation in the winter. I’ve also been consuming a lot of alcohol and going out for dinner almost every night but I’m still eating healthy during the day. Balance is the key and calories will be burnt easily as soon as miles start racking up!
  • Sleep: The Jawbone has shown me how terrible my sleeping patterns are but in the past few months, I’ve been really making an effort to getting to bed early… and also waking up early. I’ve never been a morning person unless I have a reason to (morning workouts) but I actually trained myself to wake up at 6am, have a coffee, relax, stretch and read before heading to work which starts at 10am. Even when I have no ride or morning workouts planned. I seriously never thought the day would come but it has. Dundundun!!
  • Mentally: I’ve never been more happier, at peace and intrinsically motivated. I’ve also discovered tons of new interests which obviously does not help with my lack of time but you will always find a way when you make it a priority.

Simple reminders for a healthy heart:

  • Exercise as often as you can. Find something you enjoy and just do it!
  • Eat real and eat well. But don’t forget to practice moderation unless you want to drive yourself crazy.
  • Eliminate stress. Take time off. Treat yourself to a massage or cancel party plans with no guilt so you can get some down time for yourself.
  • Explore your soul. Pursuit wisdom and never stop being curious about life. Think more. Discover new philosophies and be open-minded towards new beliefs, institutions, outlooks and conventions. Accept the fluidity of existence. Be more mindful. Strive for enlightenment… but at the same time, don’t let it overcome you.

It’s important to remember that having a healthy heart does not mean just diet and exercise— chronic stress puts your heart at risk as well so remember to slow down once in a while. Have you been taking care of your heart?

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