Disclaimer: This post was written as a part of the GoodLife Fitness Ambassador Program. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.
February is Heart Month! And I don’t just mean the month of Valentine’s Day (although it is an appropriate coincidence – or maybe not a coincidence?). Heart Month is an international campaign to increase awareness of heart health and promote heart healthy lifestyles.
Now it’s pretty common knowledge what a heart healthy lifestyle entails – but the difficulty often lies in actually doing it. Sometimes we just need an extra push to find the motivation! So my gym GoodLife Fitness has teamed up with the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre in Toronto to host a 28 Day Heart Healthy Challenge. You can join in on Facebook if you’re interested and use the hashtag #IHeartExercise on social media!
In today’s post I wanted to take a romantic twist on living healthily (since it is Valentine’s Day this weekend) and write about being healthy as a couple! People tend to slack on their healthy lifestyles when they join coupledom – I know, I’ve been there. Date nights at pizza parlours, opting to sleep in and be lazy on weekends instead of working out, and enjoying baked goods are all fine in moderation, but sometimes they can start to happen too often when you have a significant other! So today I want to share 10 tips for how to be healthy as a couple. And yes, some of them may be cheesy. It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow though, so I think cheesiness is fully justified!
1. Get in some extra activity and catch up on each others’ days by going on a walk around the neighbourhood together after dinner. Walking after a meal lowers your blood sugar and can reduce your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease in the long term. Also it will make you appreciate that hour you spend on the couch afterwards so much more!
2. Find an active hobby you enjoy doing together like biking, joining a recreational dodgeball league, or rock climbing. Bonus: according to Psychology Today, exercising together can help increase your emotional bond and leave you feeling more satisfied in your relationship.
3. Make it a routine to go to the farmers market together on Saturday mornings and pick out fruits and vegetables for the week. Try to pick out a variety of colours to reap the benefits of all the different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that produce has to offer.
4. Unwind together over a drink at the end of the week – and it doesn’t have to be red wine! Red wine is known as a heart healthy drink, but a study from last year has changed its reputation. The antioxidant in red wine, resveratrol, actually has no link to longevity or decreased heart disease. But good news: people who drink moderate amounts* of alcohol do have a slightly lower risk of heart disease (source). So pour yourself a glass and enjoy! *Note: click here to read about alcohol intake guidelines for men and women.
5. Go out for sushi together (opt for the rolls that aren’t fried or served with a mayonnaise-based sauce, and ask for the lower sodium soy sauce) instead of fast food. The omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) in fish can lower your risk of heart disease through reducing your blood triglyceride levels, improving your heart function, and reducing blood clotting (source).
6. For date night, make healthier versions of your favourite foods together instead of going out. Try making a veggie loaded homemade pizza on whole wheat crust or homemade baked chicken fingers with baked sweet potato fries.
7. Enjoy a bowl of air-popped popcorn on movie night. Popcorn is a whole grain and a good source of fibre, which is good for heart health! But watch the toppings. Use a small amount of real butter and go easy on the salt. Or experiment with any of these healthy popcorn topping ideas.
8. Find a comedy show to start watching regularly together. Fighting stress is an overlooked but important way to reduce risk of heart disease, and laughing is a great way to do this!
9. Treat each other with chocolate on special occasions – but make sure it’s at least 60% dark chocolate. Real dark chocolate contains flavonoids that may reduce risk of heart disease (source).
10. Support each other in your individual health goals. Making lifestyle and dietary changes can be hard, overwhelming, and stressful. Having support from someone you love is crucial!
GIVEAWAY (NOW CLOSED)
To help you achieve your fitness goals, GoodLife Fitness is giving away a prize pack that consists of a free 3 month GoodLife Fitness membership, a GoodLife Fitness gym bag and water bottle, and an “I Heart Exercise” t-shirt in your size! To enter this giveaway, leave a comment with the following:
What is one way you can think of to stay healthy as a couple?
You can win additional entries by doing the following and commenting to indicate you’ve done them:
1. Join the 28 Day Healthy Heart Challenge event on Facebook
2. Follow Chelsea’s Healthy Kitchen and GoodLife Fitness on Instagram
3. Tweet about the giveaway: “Win a @GoodLifeFitness prize pack including a FREE 3 month membership from @healthychels. Enter here: http://wp.me/p3QHsK-4Gf #IHeartExercise”
Giveaway ends on February 28 at 12:00 pm EST and is open to Canadian residents (excluding Quebec) only. Good luck!