Being healthy is all about lifestyle, and we at Xtend-Life celebrated that recently by participating in the Star City to Surf Run for the Heart, which featured 6- and 14-kilometer distances for both runners and walkers.
We ran because we know that a healthy life is about more than taking the right supplements. What you put into your body is only half the battle. It’s what you do with it that counts.
Our staff did great too! Selena and Korina came in first and second for the 14k run, while Gia and Kirk came in first and second in the 6k. In addition to showcasing how living a healthy life can make a difference, we also enjoyed doing our part to save a few lives along the way. (Ref. 1)
The event raised money for the New Zealand Heart Association, which assists those affected by heart disease, funds new research and provides educational programs to help people improve their heart health through healthy living.
For us, a company dedicated to helping our customers stay healthy and live full rich lives, helping to raise awareness is one of the best things we can do.
Heart facts 101
According to the Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the nation, accounting for 30 percent of annual deaths. Sadly, many of them are preventable through lifestyle changes, which showcases just how important awareness is. (Ref. 2)
With one million New Zealand residents classified as obese, exercise is a smart way to help begin the process of dropping extra pounds that put a strain on your heart and shorten your lifespan.
Exercise for hearth health
When it comes to maximizing your heart health, a regular workout program is absolutely essential. Like any other muscle, our hearts grow stronger when challenged, and the best challenge for our hearts is aerobic exercise.
According to the Heart Association of New Zealand, 6 kilometers is the right amount of exercise to get your heart pumping, provided you do it at least three times a week. In fact, the harder you work, the greater the heart-healthy benefits, so when walking, make sure to make every step count, and pick up the pace when you can to help build strength and endurance.
If walking’s not your thing, consider swimming, cycling, swing dance classes, martial arts or weekend basketball games with the guys. You’re most likely to stick to a workout program if you’re having a good time, so choosing fun activities that you’ll look forward to will go a long way toward making exercise a regular part of your life.
If you’re one of the many who start a workout program but have a hard time sticking to it, find ways to make yourself more accountable. For instance, set up walking or cycling sessions with a friend. You’re not going to want to let someone else down, and neither will your friend, so you can work together to motivate one another for positive changes.
Tips for heart health
In addition to exercise, there is plenty you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease and reduce your chances of becoming another heart attack statistic.
Smart moves include:
- Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables but limited amounts of saturated fats – and sodium, which is linked to elevated blood pressure. (Ref. 2). Both are often hidden in processed foods, so check labels carefully to know what you’re eating if processed foods are a regular part of your diet.
- Quit smoking. One in five New Zealanders over the age of 15 smokes, putting one fifth of the adult population at increased risk of heart disease. Kicking the habit is essential for optimum health, and if you don’t smoke, you lungs won’t have to work so hard during exercise, making it easier to reach your goals.
- Keep the alcoholic beverages to a minimum. Heavy drinking has been linked to heart disease, according to the New Zealand Heart Association, which recommends no more than two drinks a day for women and three drinks a day for men.
- If you’re a diabetic, it’s important to keep your blood glucose levels in check, since elevated blood sugar can damage blood vessels and lead to heart disease.
Supplement with fish oil. In addition to eating a healthy diet and making exercise a regular part of your life, fish oil supplements – our Omega 3 range – may help support heart health and function, and help you get the best out of life.