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February is American Heart Month and as you know, keeping our tickers tocking—and in good health—is an essential part of living. Your diet, activity, stress levels and more can affect our hearts and our greater health, which is why it is important to start taking care of your heart no matter your age.
Alice Ann Dailey, MS, is the author of Dailey Strengthening: 6 Keys to Balance Core Muscles for Optimal Health and an exercise physiologist, who emphasizes the importance of using this month as a reminder to take care of such a vital organ.
But did you know your body has a ‘second heart?’ We didn’t, either. Dailey explains that your toes and feet can have a similar function. “Activity of the toes will allow more blood circulation to rise from the feet and return to the heart,” she continues. “Also, GPS sensors are at every joint, tendon and muscle of the feet and will send information to the brain.”
In addition to learning how other parts of our body have a direct effect on our hearts, Dailey has broken down five of the most important heart health tips for female athletes:
- Awareness that alpha posture provides balanced muscles on the front side of the shoulder girdle with those on the back side.
- Balanced shoulder muscles allow the ribs to open outward providing more space for the lungs. This improves respiration, induces relaxation and strengthens the immune system.
- Balanced shoulder girdle muscles and improved respiration lowers heart rate and blood pressure, shown by research studies by Dr. Dean Ornish on yoga and heart disease.
- Learning to breathe deeply during everyday life will allow your body to relax, release all stress, and give you a natural, good feeling.
- To balance your pelvic girdle muscles, your feet must be parallel with your toes together and heels apart. This will allow your hips to narrow and your lumbar spine to lengthen. The fastest runners narrow their gait and lengthen their stride by pointing their knees and middle toes forward as they run. This alignment is also the healthiest position of the knee joints and the thigh bone in the hip socket.
For even more resources on American Heart Month, visit the American Heart Association online.