Although American Heart Month has come and gone, it is still important to keep in mind EVERY month why we acknowledge the importance of heart health and ways to keep our hearts healthy. One way to help reduce our risk of developing heart disease is to maintain a physically active lifestyle. Walking is one easy way to achieve the recommended 30 minutes of activity per day. Not only is it important to incorporate physical activity into your every day routine, it is also important to maintain a flexible lower extremity to help reduce your risk of injury and keep you active! In our PT Minute series, Physical Therapy First’s Dr. Alex Tan, PT, DPT, demonstrates three of his favorite stretches that target your lower extremity to perform during your cool down after walking: PTtip Stretches
In summary, Dr. Tan, PT, DPT, suggests performing these stretches after a daily walk:
- Standing Calf Stretch
- Standing Quad Stretch
- Hip Flexor Stretch
With his recommended guidelines:
- Hold each stretch for 30 seconds.
- Remember to perform the stretches with both your right and left legs.
- Repeat each stretch for a total of 3 times per side.
Another key factor for one’s heart health and overall health in general is maintaining a balanced nutrient-rich diet. For this blog post, we will simply focus on just one of the important components to a healthy well-balanced diet: fruits and vegetables! The recommended amount of fruits and vegetables to eat per day will vary for each individual based on his or her total caloric consumption (i.e. age, activity level, gender, weight), but one important thing to keep in mind is maintaining variety within your consumption! This means branching out and try a wide range of fruits and vegetables in order for your body to reap the benefits from many different vitamins and minerals.
An easy way to incorporate vegetables into your diet is by adding them to sandwiches. You don’t have to stick to just lettuce and tomato. Get creative and add on other great options such as shredded carrots, sprouts, sliced beets, cucumber, or zucchini! Extra vegetables like spinach, tomatoes, or broccoli, can even be added to homemade pasta dishes, soups, or pizzas as an easy way to eat more vegetables. For fruits, incorporating them into breakfast options like whole-grain oatmeal, waffles, or cereal can be an easy way to eat a serving of your favorite fruit. One example of a creative way to eat a serving of fruit is to blend together plain Greek yogurt with your favorite frozen fruit of choice to create a dessert-like treat!
If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment with one of our physical therapists to help with your mobility or with creating a ‘heart healthy’ aerobic exercise plan, give our office a call today at 1-855-PT-First!
*As a reminder, always discuss any questions or concerns with your physician regarding your own health and dietary needs, as the information written should not replace any medical advice.
American Heart Assocation. (2014). Why walking. Retrieved from: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/Walking/Why-Walking_UCM_461770_Article.jsp#.Vs4FRBzxJC9
American Heart Association. (2014). About Fruits and Vegetables. Retrieved from:
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 2016. Variety. Retrieved from: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/variety