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Love Yourself, Love Your Heart

Author

AJ

Published

21 March 2024

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When we think of self-love, our first thought might not be exercise. In fact, we’re more likely to consider activities that could harm us in the long term, such as eating an excess of unhealthy foods or binge-watching. While these activities can invoke temporary pleasure and be a part of a healthy lifestyle, we believe that the best kind of self-care sets us up for the long run.

At the Y, we believe that physical activity is incredibly important to living a healthy lifestyle. Not only does it strengthen your physical body, but it also can help support your emotional wellbeing, especially when engaging in activities alongside others.

We see the heart as a vital organ that plays an important role in keeping us moving. However, it also envelops our ideas surrounding emotional needs and mental happiness. Helping others take care of both aspects of the heart is what we’re all about.

Today, the leading cause of death in Australia today is coronary heart disease (CHD).

In 2020-21, an estimated 571,000 Australians were living with CHD with recent studies suggesting a strong correlation between those with CHD and poor mental wellbeing. While 1 in 6 Australians live with CHD, all Australians can practice self-love by taking care of their heart health through exercise.

In fact, exercising regularly can help improve holistic quality of life.

Quality of life is something that we take seriously at the Y. We know that health is grounded in both our physical and mental experiences, and that’s why our services aim to support members in engaging in activities that nourish both the body and the mind. 

Movement for the body

Physical activity offers a range of benefits to our bodies and overall health, particularly for our heart health.

By engaging in regular exercise, individuals can:

  • Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
  • Lower their blood pressure and triglyceride levels
  • Raise HDL cholesterol levels
  • Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight
  • Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Help reduce levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) which can indicate heart inflammation
  • Reduce the risk of other health conditions

These benefits can impact our overall health long after we have first engaged in exercise.

Studies have shown that by developing muscle mass and bone strength from an early age, the process of aging is slowed, and the impacts of age-related diseases such as CHD are reduced. In particular, exercises that engage our cardiovascular system such as running, high-intensity interval training and strength-training can help promote longevity and ward off the onset of diseases associated with aging.

Movement for the mind

Not only does physical activity helps our bodies to keep fit and young, it also offers a range of benefits to our mental state in the short and long term.

Individuals can immediately experience the benefits of movement through:

In the long term, it can also reduce the risk of depression and mental illnesses, which is important to keeping a happy and healthy mind.

Moving with others has also been shown to add benefits to exercising as well as enhancing our performance. Studies have shown that exercising within a community group or class can make physical movement more enjoyable, improve our performance and make it easier to commit to a regular fitness routine.

Getting started

Loving your body, including your heart, does not have to be time-consuming, laborious or boring. It isn’t even something that you have to do by yourself. In fact, habits that support heart health can be social and in an environment that supports you on your health journey, such as:

Ultimately, the exercise you engage in should be personalised to your needs, preferences and limitations. Whether it’s swimming laps or yard work, all types of exercise can contribute to positively impacting our bodies and minds.

Community spaces like the Y

At The Y, we offer more than just fitness activities. As part of our mission to support Australians to become healthier, we see our spaces as community hubs for locals.

Members not only experience the incredible benefits of movement through our spaces, but they also forge life-giving friendships and experience the strong sense of belonging that our warm and diverse communities foster.

Our range of different classes exist to cater to the uniqueness of our expansive communities. One of our most popular classes includes our PryMe Movers program which unites and leads adults over 50 through exercises that improve bone health, strength, cardio, and balance.

We also have local pools where members can engage in aquatic group fitness classes and adult swimming lessons. This a great way to improve overall health, especially for older adults, as it has minimal strain on the body and is less likely to result in injury. Plus, it is plenty of fun to swim and move alongside other like-minded members.

With plenty of opportunities across our different services at the Y, including our Fitness Centres, swimming pools, gymnasiums and Community Centres, members are welcomed and encouraged to have fun with others and feel like they belong with their community all while doing good for their physical and mental health.  

Building healthy habits

Starting up a habit can take time, but taking on regular exercise can reap plenty of rewards for the heart and more. Not only will you be less likely to have a heart-related disease, but exercise can help with lifting your mood, boosting concentration and improving your fitness.

If you’re interested in incorporating exercise into your daily routine, consider the following pieces of advice:

  • Seek professional advice from your local GP or physiologist if you have coronary heart disease or any other conditions that may impact how you exercise
  • Choose an activity that enjoy
  • Incorporate this activity in your routine slowly by identifying when it fits best in your routine and consistently engaging
  • Switch it up — if you don’t like the exercise you’re doing or just want to try something different, you can always change your routine

Whether you’re in your late teens or early 70s, looking after your heart, both physically and mentally, is simply crucial. It will not only provide immediate benefits such as mood boosts and comradeship, but it can also reduce the risk of major heart conditions. When it comes to self-love, exercise might just be one of the most powerful ways to take care of yourself, especially with a community around you. While it may look different at every age, you are never too young or old to take care of your heart and help others do the same.

If you’re interested in joining our Fitness Centres, why not consider getting in touch with our Fitness Managers? Our Fitness Managers are more than happy to help you find an exercise program that fits your routine.

Author

AJ

Published

21 March 2024

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