20 Heart-Healthy Summer Activities
From bonfires to baseball games, we all have different ways to take advantage of the summer months. Warmer temperatures and more daylight hours give us a chance to both relax and be more active outside. But did you know that these outdoor activities are also great for your heart?
Getting outside can:
- Reduce your blood pressure
- Reduce levels of cortisol (the stress hormone)
- Increase levels of vitamin D
- Improve your mood
High blood pressure and cortisol levels, as well as vitamin D deficiency, have all been identified as risk factors for heart attacks and cardiovascular disease. And since your mood contributes to your overall quality of life, participating in activities you enjoy can improve both.
These busy months go quickly, though, so it’s important to make the most of them while you can. Check out these heart-healthy activities that you can do today, and see how many you can do this summer!
Ways to Get Moving
Cardiovascular activities are those that get your heart rate up and improve blood flow throughout your body. Any of these ideas should do the trick, and can be adjusted for you and your schedule.
- Go for a morning jog with a friend
- Hit the pool and swim as many laps as you can
- Bike to work
- Take three (or more!) breaks to walk around the block during your work day
- Find a new hiking trail and see where it goes
- Challenge your friends or family to frisbee in the park
- Have a water balloon fight
- Jump rope the length of your driveway
- Dance to your favorite summer songs
- Join a community sports team
Ways to Relax
No matter how you’ve gotten your heart rate up, bringing it back down is just as important. Relaxing activities can not only help you recover from exercise, but also reduce stress and anxiety.
- Stretch things out in a new yoga class
- Listen to music—a live performance, if you can!
- Plant and tend a garden or flowers
- Watch the sunrise, sunset, or both
- Read a book at the park
- Take a nap in a hammock
- Find shapes in the clouds
- Take an afternoon road trip
- Bring your friends/family to watch a local sporting event
- Host a neighborhood bonfire
Help Your Heart
There you have it: 20 heart-healthy activities that you can start doing as soon as you stop reading this. Do one or a few each day, and your heart will thank you! As you continue, you’ll establish heart-healthy habits that will help you now and in the future.
If you have questions about your heart health, your primary care provider can help. They can direct you to the best course of treatment from education to screenings that provide you with the highest level of care.
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