“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”
~ Helen Keller
It’s February which means it’s American Heart Month! During this month, people throughout the country come together to promote heart health. It is a time to focus on your health and to encourage others – i.e. friends, family, co-workers, your partner, acquaintances, and even strangers to pay more attention to what is happening with their bodies.
Why is this so important? Because heart disease is the #1 killer in American men and women. The good news is you can improve the health of your heart so it remains strong and healthy. The key is to start moving, ramp up your consumption of healthy foods, and support the American Heart Association, who conducts research that could save your life one day.
Your heart contains some of the most important muscles in your body. These muscles keep your blood flowing to your tissues and organs. It is your lifeline, so it’s important to keep it in tip-top shape. And, like any muscle, the more you work it, the stronger it gets. Regular exercise can lower your risk for high blood pressure and high cholesterol – contributors to heart disease. Moving or exercising at least 30-minutes a day can keep your heart healthy for many years to come.
The good news is there are plenty of opportunities to move and exercise in Gainesville, Florida. With its sunshine and pleasant weather, you can always find inside and outside activities that will ease your stress, reduce unhealthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and help you burn excess calories. The result? A healthier body and heart!
What Types of Movement Support Heart Health?
The truth is any type of movement can improve the health of your heart. However, the most effective type of movement involves aerobic exercise. Why? Because it causes your heartbeat to accelerate, which in turn causes you to breathe more heavily.
So, to keep your heart strong, you’ll need to exercise or move most of the week. Ideally, you should devote 2 to 3 hours to moving each week. However, any movement is good for you, so do what you can and try to have fun while doing it!
Listed below are activities that are good for heart health:
- Moderate or brisk walking
- Hiking uphill
- Downhill skiing
- Light or heavy yardwork
- Cross-country skiing
- Jump roping
At GW Robinson Homes, we do our part by ensuring that our new home communities, like our Amariah Park subdivision, not only offer residents energy-efficient homes with high-end finishes (i.e. paved driveways, smart home features, and tankless water heaters), but also support heart health with luxurious amenities like the community pool, kid-friendly playground, and beautiful and safe walking trails.
Gainesville Heart Health Activities
Listed below are fun, heart health activities you can do in Gainesville, Florida:
- Gainesville Health & Fitness Center – Gainesville Health & Fitness, located near the Amirah Park Community, is a strong proponent of heart health. And, guess what? It’s purportedly one of the nicest fitness centers (gyms) in the country!
- Gainesville Area Community Tennis Association – Gainesville Area Community Tennis Association (GACTA) vigorously promotes heart health through tennis. It offers a variety of programs for all ages and abilities, such as: Aces in Motion, Middle School Tennis, Community Tennis Events, Adaptive Tennis and more. So, get involved with GACTA or swing a racquet at one of Gainesville’s many public or private tennis facilities: Jonesville Tennis Center, T.B. McPherson Complex, Tom Petty Park, Northside Park, or Cofrin Park.
- Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park – Paynes Prairie, located in Micanopy, Florida, offers EIGHT walking trails and plenty of fishing, hiking, and camping – all of which does your body and heart good!
- Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail – Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail is a 16-mile trail located in the Paynes Prairie Preserve. The best thing about this state park is it allows you to observe and admire Florida’s natural habitat in motion – i.e. wild-roaming bison, alligators, deer, and other wildlife, along with 300 species of beautiful birds. Other perks? A shaded campground and a 50-ft. high observation tower so you can take lots of panoramic pictures.
- Devil’s Millhopper –Devil’s Millhopper is a geological state park located in Northwest Gainesville, Florida. This park promotes heart health by offering visitors a ton of excitement, as in a ton of STEPS that leads directly into a 120-ft. deep limestone SINKHOLE! That’s not all…it also offers picnic spaces and bike trails for those wanting to observe Florida’s wildlife community at its best!
- Ginny Springs – Ginny Springs is the epitome of heart health with its SEVEN crystal springs that boast 72-degree temps all year long. Here you can paddleboard, kayak, canoe, or simply dive-in the refreshing spring water! How can you not love that? Swimming is great for your heart.
- San Felasco Park – San Felasco Park, located in Alachua, Florida, is a great place to improve the health of your heart. There are plenty of things to do that will get your heart pumping and blood flowing. Bird-watching and off-road biking opportunities, spectacular scenery, and a rich historical past – what’s not to love?
- The Oaks Mall – If you’re just not able to do vigorous activities and prefer something good for your heart and slower-paced why not stroll around The Oaks Mall? This mall offers plenty of shopping opportunities and movement. A win-win for sure!
- Defy Air Sports – At Defy Air Sports you can get your heart pumping by jumping in the air on trampolines! Ticket prices start at $12 for adults and $ 6 for children under 7 for 1 hour. Jump your way to improved heart health!
The goal of American Heart Month is to remind everyone just how important their health and heart are. This is important because your heart plays a major role in your longevity. The hope is that as more and more people begin to see the benefits of heart health, the support will help others make healthier choices.
Gainesville, Florida is the perfect place to focus on your heart, health, and well-being. It’s sunny, beautiful, and inviting all year round, which means there are always opportunities to see the sights and exercise at the same!
Plus, February is the “Month of Love,” which is symbolized with a heart (i.e. Valentine’s Day), so it just makes sense that we use this time to focus on all affairs of the heart (i.e. heart health)!
- National Today. (2020). American heart month – February 2020. Retrieved from https://nationaltoday.com/american-heart-month/
- National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute. (2020). American heart month. Retrieved from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/education-and-awareness/heart-month
- American Heart Association. (2020). Information page. Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/