“Maintaining a healthy and sound body is among the ways of God”
(Rambam, Deot, 4-1)
While going through our daily life, it is hard to think about the little organ that allows us to function–our heart. It working 24/7, pumping our blood throughout the entire day, and it is the hardest working muscle we have. God gave us this wonderful organ, but we are also instructed to keep our body healthy. Ahavas Chesed is happy to provide you with simple steps to help us keep our heart working optimally:
No, we do not mean that you need to training for the next Olympics but anything physical that keeps your heart rate up for 20 to 30 minutes – 5 days a week is great. Want ideas? Running. Biking. Swimming.
2. Stay active throughout the day.
If you sit many hours during the day, studying or working at the office, your blood circulation is very low and this increases the risk for heart disease. Schedule breaks throughout your day to stand up every hour or so, and walk around for a few minutes. Occasionally, when speaking on the phone, do it while standing. This will get your limbs moving and your blood pumping.
3. Think about your food.
In the fast-paced life that we live in modern times, it is too easy to be tempted by fast food, fried meals and snacks. We know that we won’t be able to change lifetime habits overnight, but even the slightest change in our food routine can make a great difference.
Start small and schedule one healthy meal a day. After two weeks, increase it to two healthy meals and so on. When planning your healthy meal, focus on the following:
• Fruits and vegetables
• Whole grains (like brown rice and other unrefined carbs)
• Nuts, seeds, and legumes (such as chickpeas and lima beans)
Don’t throw away the benefits of these foods by frying them or smothering them with butter or cheese. That will raise your “bad” cholesterol, which can clog your arteries.
4. Switch your choice of chocolate.
When looking for a snack, pick a dark chocolate over the milk version. When eaten in moderation, dark chocolate is good for our heart.
5. Know your numbers.
Knowing the state of our body is crucial to keeping it healthy. Twice a year find out your levels of blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol, and compare it to the optimal recommended levels.
6. Keep stress away. Stress happens! The problem is not the circumstances that cause stress as much as how we respond. When we’re under pressure, our body ramps up adrenaline, which can overwork our hearts.
When in stress – listen to relaxing music, draw, or close your eyes for 5 minutes. If stress gets to be too much, talk to someone, whether it’s a trusted friend or when needed seek professional help.
7. Sleep well.
Sleep is when our body reboots and recovers. That’s important for all aspects of our health, not just the heart. You can’t feel good if you’re not restoring yourself. When you’re asleep, your heart rate and blood pressure go down. That gives your heart a much-needed break. Without it, you’re stressed and you’ll crave fuel from high-calorie foods – which, let’s face it, are not heart-healthy. When going to sleep, make sure that no noise will disturb you (don’t go to sleep with music on), switch off your phone and lights. Make it a priority to sleep well. You’ll be ready to face whatever the next day may bring.