Happy Valentine’s Day: Heart Health & Running

Happy Valentines Day my friends! Today, I am sharing a running post (!) for all my runner-friends, and if you don’t run, you may get a little heart-health info. here too!

Heart Health & Running

Did you know it’s Heart Health Month? I didn’t. I learned this from a Podcast (#298) on Another Mother Runner, that I listen to about running (duh.), that focused on whether or not running is actually good or bad for your heart.

Big. For me, as a runner, but also a major contrarian and realist, I will only do something if I want to, and if it ISN’T good for me, I probably won’t do it…so I am not sure about you, but going into this podcast, I was hoping that I was doing everything right.

The good news is that, yes, running is good for your heart. The bad news was that I need to change some things about running for my heart health:

Here are my takeaways:

  • Statins are one of the most studied drugs, and are the best way to prevent plaque from building in your arteries. I have been fighting having to go on one, and maybe this makes me feel better about them.
  • Natural alternative statins such as Red East Rice Extract, which is a supplement, are the same exact main ingredient as a statin, it’s just not regulated the same since it’s a supplement, so the ingredients vary greatly brand to brand.
  • Coconut oil is a saturated fat. This is not as good as olive oil for heart health. Enjoy in moderation, as you would butter or another saturated fat (Perhaps smoothing it all over my body is the best way I should use this!)
  • Even 10 minutes of high intensity exercise a day is helping your heart.
  • Some running is better than no running for your heart health. Ideally, three times a week, 1-2 hours a week (this is WAY less than I would do, so this is a mindset-change).
  • Too much running (marathons), may be harmful for your heart health (please don’t send me hate-mail on this one!).

Heart Health & Running

To prevent sudden cardiac issues post-running, here were the recommendations:

  • Don’t over-drink the water.
  • Eat salty food after a race, and electrolyte replacements.
  • DO NOT take advil or ibuprofen during a race (ACK! I am guilty of this one!)- take a baby aspirin right before a race if you are worried about heart health.
  • Get trained yourself in bystander CPR, to be available to help others- see the American Heart Association for where in your area you can do this- maybe the local Y

Obviously, this is just one viewpoint. I like to gather information over time to make informed choices, as I am sure most of you do as well…but I found this podcast super helpful, if you run and run for heart health. Many of us, run for mental health, endorphines, weight control, or other reasons…so heart health may not be on your radar.

For today, I wanted to celebrate the Day of Love and Heart, with a focus on heart heath, so I hope you gleaned a little bit of new info here, but I would definitely listen to the podcast yourself or check out the American Heart Association as a place to get reliable, trusted information from the medical community. For sure, it is confusing, but I like that there is research that backs any claims or statements that are made on the site. As a librarian, I always over-research to make sure I get all the information, from all kinds of sources. As a relatively healthy person with plaque because of my DNA- thanks Mom & Dad- I want to know FACTS and get as much good information as possible to help my heart.

Disclosure: I am not a health professional, nor does this blog make claims to any health discussion posted here. Please use your own doctor and your own judgement before following any advice regarding your health. 

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