February is American Heart Health Month. President Lyndon Johnson issued the first proclamation in 1964. Since then, United States presidents have declared it annually to raise awareness about heart disease. It is a time when all people can focus on their cardiovascular health.
Active transportation like bicycling and walking can be part of a healthy lifestyle, and they’re easy to incorporate into your daily routine both during the pandemic and upon the return to work.
Bicycling gets your heart pumping with minimal impact on your joints. Even just 10 minutes of cycling a day can improve your fitness level
Not a cyclist yet—don’t stress!—it’s easy to get started:
- Ease into it. Get used to riding a bike in an open parking lot or on a lightly trafficked trail or path.
- Set small goals. Start with 10 minutes a day and eventually work your way up to a total of 150 minutes each week. If you make bicycling a part of your commute once workplaces reopen, that will help you reach the 150 minutes.
- Incorporate bicycling into your daily routine. Some ways to do that are: bicycling to work a few times a week when you begin to commute again, bicycling for a few of your errands, and just for fun!
Walking as a regular activity can also help reduce your risk of heart disease. Adding any regular activity to your routine is beneficial.
During the pandemic, here are ways to add more steps to your day:
- Include the family. Go for a walk or hike together.
- Try music. It can make activity more enjoyable and help you to walk farther or faster.
- Walk for some of you errands.
- Walk with your children to school on in-person school days.
- Upon a return to the workplace:
- If walking to work is an option, choose it!
- Instead of sending an email, walk to your colleague’s desk.
- Take a walk instead of sitting when you are early for an appointment.
- Take short walking breaks throughout the day. Plan to walk and talk if you have a one-on-one meeting.
- Choose parking spots farther away from the entrance. If you take the bus, get off a stop early and walk the rest of the way.
- Take the stairs. Even going down the stairs counts as steps.
- Continue to walk your children to school!
Enjoy your walk!