There's a lot that goes into living a heart-healthy lifestyle. Yes, nutrition and exercise are both extremely important, but adding a little "me" time in there too goes a long way. Not only for your physical health but for your mental health, as well.
I've been learning this lesson more and more. We all live very hectic stressful lives, and that takes a toll on us. It stresses our body and mind, and taking just a little time for yourself is great for your overall wellness.
I have found that some simple yoga poses and meditation techniques add more balance in my hectic life. Yoga builds cardiovascular health, increases lung capacity, and improves respiratory function and heart rate. It also boosts blood circulation, builds muscle, and decreases inflammation.
And what's great, is there are so many different yoga techniques you can experiment with. I personally enjoy yoga that's less intense, where it has more of a relaxation effect rather than a sweaty exercise session. Yin yoga is a personal favorite of mine. It's where you get into a stretching pose and hold for several minutes. You can actually feel your muscles letting go and relaxing.
Usually, a yoga class ends with a few minutes of meditation, which I've found to be very helpful with relaxation. Studies have also shown that meditation can also be good for your heart, even possibly lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. An added benefit is you can do it anywhere. Find a quiet space, and give yourself 10 minutes to fully relax. I find these steps help:
- Sit quietly, close your eyes and breathe slowly.
- Relax all of your muscles, starting with your feet, legs, and thighs. Next, shrug your shoulders and roll your neck to the left and right.
- On each "out" breath, say the phrase, "Let go."
It's actually kind of amazing how just a few minutes of that can change how you feel physically and can change your attitude. It's almost kind of a quick reset so you can get back to your busy life with new energy.
If you need a little additional help, you can download the "Calm" app for free on your phone. It provides some guided meditation and relaxation techniques which can help you get your thoughts in order to actually relax.
So, go ahead and do something good for yourself and your heart. Take a little "me" time today and notice the difference!