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Healthy Heart: Improve Your Circulation and Flexibility

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Have a HeartBonnie Raitt was right when she sang Have a Heart. You probably have a heart, but is it a strong one? And do you also have great circulation and flexible arteries?

Hard to make that sound sexy and exciting. However, having a strong circulatory system and being flexible should be on the top of your “gotta have” list if you want to live a full, healthy life. If you are a woman over 45 (keep those genetic predispositions in mind too) you will especially need to focus on circulating better than a politician at a fundraiser!

Circulation is the movement of fluid through the vessels of the body in a regular or circuitous course induced by the pumping action of the heart. Say what? When you have good circulation, blood can move to every cell in your body in less than 60 seconds.

Thinking of which, did you know that heart disease is the number one killer of women in the US? Or that the symptoms of a woman’s heart attack can differ drastically from men’s, so those signs often go unrecognized? We need to do better at spotting heart attacks in women AND take action to minimize heart disease in the first place. In other words, having good circulation not only can improve your life, but possibly also save it!Circulataory system

Notice how Bob Hoskins ends up at the ER in the Bonnie Raitt video clip? Did you notice what he was eating? Exactly!

The three main ways you can help your circulatory system are to:

Exercise
While many types of exercise help your overall awesomesauceness, walking is the single most effective form of exercise to achieve heart health, according to the American Heart Association. For every hour of walking, life expectancy may increase by two hours.

Let's get Flexible, FlexibleAchieve good flexibility
Researchers have established a correlation between flexible bodies and flexible arteries in people older than 40. Can you touch your toes? If so, you probably have flexible arteries. Arterial stiffness indicates an increased risk for heart disease and stroke. Being fit seems to delay the development of age-associated artery stiffening.

Intake healthy food and drink 
One of our favorite ways people can support their circulation is via cocoa flavanols. What can be better than finding out that a regular, small dose of dark chocolate helps your health. We’re all over that good news!

On this last day of Heart Health Month, we are headed to the IDEA Personal Trainer Institute on the east coast to partner up with CocoaVia® to help spread the word about taking care of your circulatory system all year long! They make four flavors of cocoa flavanol supplements (2 chocolate; 2 fruit). We’ve tried them all, and love the fruit flavors in our morning smoothies and water bottles. Check out more recipe ideas on CocoaVia’s site.

Traveling to conventions is also proven (completely non-scientifically) to help us circulate with our knowledgeable fitness colleagues, so we are looking forward to the trip. Please follow our adventure via our pictures and tweets.

While you’re at it, please have a heart and subscribe to our YouTube channel and blog. Please also follow us on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above.

Photo credits: Heart collage:  qthomasbower; Circulatory system: Vivienne Balonwu

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