Research shows that couples share similar health habits and routines. The same is true for our wider social circle—we even share similar cardiovascular disease risks to those we spend a lot of time with. This February, fall in love with your heart health and find ways to motivate your friends and loved ones to do the same.
Be the heart-healthy change you want to see in the world
If you want to motivate those around you to be healthy, you need to show instead of tell. That’s according to Kathryn Werner, a psychiatry physician’s assistant with a degree in health promotion.
Make food a family affair
When we get our friends or family engaged in their own healthy decisions, researchers say the beneficial results are longer lasting than if we tell them what to do, or if we simply do it for them. Plus, it’s a great way to be a healthy role model and can help you grow closer together in your relationships.
“Suggest to each other healthier food options or restaurants,” suggests registered dietitian and nutritionist Katie Tomaschko. “Grocery shopping and planning meals together is also a great way to encourage each other to make heart-healthy food decisions.”
Exercise is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your general wellness and longevity. Studies have found that exercise is an incredibly social activity. People who exercise with friends—or even with strangers in a group boot camp or class—push themselves harder and stick with their exercise routine longer.
Try these tricks to build motivation for yourself and your loved ones.
Get competitive and be accountable
“You can motivate each other by participating in friendly movement or step competitions on an app or through your smartwatch,” suggests Tomaschko. Choose a heart-healthy reward for the winner, such as getting a massage or splurging on premium workout gear.
Make it part of your routine
Turn movement into a ritual, such as going for a walk together each night after dinner. “Physical activity releases feel-good and stress-releasing neurotransmitters,” says Werner.
Think outside the gym
“Take advantage of the upcoming mild spring weather and plan for hikes or walks,” says Tomaschko. “Even taking the dog on a walk counts!”
Keep the wellness journey lighthearted
Whatever health goals you have for your friends and family, stay positive. “We often think of eliminating unhealthy behaviors, but one of the best ways to move toward health is to focus on increasing healthy behaviors,” notes Werner.
Supplements your heart will love
Always check with your health care practitioner to ensure that a supplement is right for you (for example, many heart-healthy supplements may also thin blood). Here are some supplements with potential heart and exercise benefits:
- coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
- whey protein powder
BetsyHealth Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before trying a supplement, especially if you have a medical condition, including being pregnant or nursing, take prescription or over-the-counter medications, or are planning on having surgery.
By Joshua Duvauchelle
Article copyright 2024 by Alive Publishing Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Photo by Migs Reyes: