We’re talking HEALTH and GIRLFRIENDS today – the two, like the photo to the right, go hand in hand! Here’s some great healthy girlfriend advice on Healthy Starts Made Simple: The Power of 10:

You hit the snooze button one too many times this morning, got handed a new project at 4:45 p.m. or used up your lunch break buying a gift for a friend. No matter the reason, many people have a hard time finding a solid 30-minute window to exercise. But finding 30 minutes to get your heart pumping each day is crucial for maintaining good health, say the experts.

Here’s the good news: It turns out that quick, 10-minute workouts sprinkled throughout your day may be even more beneficial for your heart health than one half-hour sweat fest. In studying the health effects of shorter workout sessions, researchers from Arizona State University assigned one group three 10-minute walks a day and another group a single 30-minute walk. They found that doing multiple mini-sessions is a smarter strategy for blood pressure control: The 10-minute-at-a-time exercises not only reduced their systolic blood pressure (that’s the top number) during the day and evening (similar to the 30-minute group) but also continued to benefit from a lower BP the following day.

Why do these shorter strolls yield a longer-lasting benefit? Walking — even for a short period — lowers blood pressure after each bout, so you wind up with a more pronounced reduction by walking three times each day compared with just one. To reap the greatest decrease, walk at a quick pace. That means you should be able to keep up one end of a conversation with some moderate huffing and puffing. If you haven’t exercised before or it’s been a while, talk to your doctor before starting a new fitness routine.

walk beside me friendship quoteHere are some ideas for fitting in those 10-minute walking breaks throughout your day:

  • During work: Suggest a walk-and-talk meeting to discuss a project. Chances are your co-workers could use an excuse to break away from their desks too.
  • On your lunch break: You have got to stop to eat at some point, so why not brown-bag it to save time at the lunch counter? Then use those 10 minutes you save by walking around the building or up the stairwell.
  • Before your coffee date: Plan to arrive early so you can do a few laps around the block.
  • After work but before dinner: Walk while the chicken is in the oven.
  • When it’s time to call your parents or kids at college: Don your ear buds, pocket your cell phone and hit the sidewalk.
  • In the parking lot: Yes, it may sound cliche, but parking a little bit out of the way counts too!

One more thing to keep in mind: These tips are most beneficial when combined with a heart-healthy diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol and rich in fruits, vegetables and grain products that contain some types of dietary fiber.

Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and BE MY FRIEND.
― Albert Camus

And, of course, we totally recommended walking with a friend!

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