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Stay Heart Healthy in the New Year

Each New Year gives us time to reflect on the past year but also plan and look forward to a new one. It is a time to learn from our mistakes and take the necessary steps to improve our lives. The most important aspect of our lives is our health and family. As I reflect on this past year and look to the New Year, there are some very important learnings not only from my personal experience but on critical advancements in science and medicine. I share those below so you can also benefit from these fundamental changes you can make in your life to improve your health and wellness.

Get moderate physical exercise 2-3 times per week.

Staying active and getting exercise is the second most important thing you can do for your health. We know from the work of Dr. Ken Cooper that exercise is medicine. Exercising 20-30 minutes per day several times a week keeps your blood vessels health and helps promotes nitric oxide production. During my travels, I make it a point to stay in hotels with a workout facility and gym. Despite how exhausted I may be from travel, I always go to the gym to get a workout. This helps me with jet lag and helps me recharge.

Sweat and detoxify your body.

Not only do we have to give our body good foods replete with nutrients, but we also have to detoxify our body from what we are exposed to on a daily basis. We are bombarded with toxins from the foods we eat to the water we drink. The most effective way to rid our body of toxins is to drink plenty of clean water and to sweat. Doing aerobic exercise should cause us to sweat. I sit in a sauna or steam shower every day for 15 minutes. Infrared saunas appear to be the best. Sweating helps break down fat where most toxins are stored. Sweating then allows those toxins to be excreted from the body. Unfortunately, we as Americans do not sweat enough and that is why many of us are so toxic. This is also a good time to stretch and release toxins from tight muscles.

Get outside and get dirty.

In this new age of the microbiome, we now understand that the bacteria that live in and on our body are essential for our own health. We have become a germophobic society using anti-bacterial soaps, antiseptic mouthwash, over using antibiotics and taking multiple baths a day. All of these disrupt our symbiotic bacteria that provide our body essential nutrients that we as humans cannot make. We need to repopulate the good bacteria. One way to do this is to get outside and get dirty and sweat and to use a good probiotic for our gut. There are bacteria that live in the soil that are ammonia oxidizing bacteria. These bacteria can generate nitric oxide from the ammonia in our sweat. This can be helpful in keeping skin infections and dermatitis under control. I am fortunate to live in a rural area in Texas out in the country where the wind blows the dirt and sand and is nature’s way of helping us to develop a good ecosystem for our bodies. The Texas heat also allows me to sweat and allow the bacteria on my skin to generate nitric oxide from my own sweat.

Find time for yourself and just breathe.

We live in a non-stop world that can become stressful and overwhelming. You have to find time to meditate, pray, do Yoga or just sit and think. Deep breathing through your nose is one of the ways to activate nitric oxide enzymes found in the nasal passages. This is why deep breathing can actually help manage healthy blood pressure. I actually use my time in the sauna or steam room to do deep breathing exercises. I also find it helpful when I am driving to turn the radio off and enjoy the silence. This gives me time to do personal reflection and time to gather my thoughts

Human nature is to make things more complicated that they actually are. These are very simple steps to help us make our life more healthy and happy. It is not rocket science. The science is real and these are fundamental truths that cannot be ignored. These are tried and true methods to improve your health. It is not a coincidence that all of the above steps will help your body generate nitric oxide. So take time in this New Year to follow these simple steps and I’m confident your body will thank you. At age 43, I feel as healthy and vibrant as I have at any other time in my life despite being busier than I ever have. I attribute that to following these basic and easy to do steps.

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