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The Heart Muscle

Timeless Fitness Tip

The heart is a muscle, and as with any muscle, must be exercised to stay strong and working.

The Heart Muscle

After two to three months of aerobic activity on a regular basis (three times a week for 20 or more minutes), the heart thickens, pumping more oxygenated blood with each beat. The arteries expand and allow greater blood flow. The working muscles of the arms and legs become efficient at using oxygen from the bloodstream. Exercise capacity improves tremendously.

The major risk factors for heart disease are reduced by aerobic exercise. Higher levels of HDL (the good cholesterol) are produced, and the arteries have less plaque. The resting heart rate decreases, resulting in the same amount of blood pumped each day but with less wear and tear on the heart.

Numerous studies indicate that aerobic exercise reduces depression and anxiety, and calms the mind. Sleep habits improve over a period of time. It is also believed the more active you are, the longer you will live.

A Scoop of Whole Grains

Heart Matters Did anyone could miss the message? Whole grains are healthy! They are linked with positive effects such as reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some kinds of cancer. No wonder manufacturers plastered the term all over food labels and products.

But looks can be deceiving; phrases like "made with whole grains," "wheat," or "multi-grain" don't necessarily mean a product is a good source of whole grains. Look for whole grains to be the first ingredient to get the most benefit, and watch out for whole grain junk foods - snacks and cookies that toss in nothing more than a pinch of whole grains just for the "glory" of saying as much. See also: Whole Grain Recipes

Heart Health Meal Plan Freebie - 6 Page PDF Download

Click the picture to download this helpful (FREE!) resource.

Heart Healthy Meal Plan Thumbnail

Next tip we'll discuss ways and reasons to monitor your heart rate.

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Disclaimer: The material on this Web site is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or fitness professional. Please consult with your physician before beginning any fitness program or fat or weight reduction program. FitnessandFreebies.com takes no responsibility for individual results, or any claim made by a third party.