Happy World Heart Day, ShokzSquad! Drawing attention to the importance of keeping your heart healthy, World Heart Day takes place on September 29 every year to encourage us all to reduce our cardiovascular risk and promote a heart-healthy planet.
We decided to catch up with British Olympian rower and AfterShokz superfan, Sam Scrimgeour, to see how he keeps his cardio in check when it matters most.
As the former world and reigning European champion, Sam was named as the lightweight men’s spare for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, has won four successive medals at World Championships, and is an established member of a very competitive lightweight men’s squad.
Needless to say, cardio is of the utmost importance to Sam, so we’ve listed his top tips below.
Pay Attention To Your Body
Treat your body with respect and it will look after you. The human body was never designed to sit idle watching Game of Thrones for seasons on end. It needs exercise.
Listening to our hearts is also hugely important as they can tell us a lot. My resting heart rate first thing in the morning can be as low as 38bpm. If, however, my resting heart rate is elevated in the morning, it's usually a sign that my body is fighting something. 10bpm higher than normal and I make sure I rest with no training until it returns to normal.
Make Fueling A Priority
I have always considered fueling hugely important, and wouldn't expect my car to work well on poor quality fuel. Why would I treat my body and heart any differently? A good, balanced diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables and fish, as well as avoiding too much processed foods high in fat, salt and sugar will help promote a healthy heart.
Keep Your Training Fresh
Variety in training is so important for keeping you motivated. Sustained lower intensity training is always a good place to start as it conditions the body and makes for a strong heart. Again, like the car, I always let my engine get up to the optimum temperature. Once warm, an engine does benefit from a thrashing from time to time, as do our hearts. Interval training is a good way of achieving this. The UK’s naturally hilly landscape is great for this and makes for great training whether on foot or bike.
Another thing our hearts enjoy is weight training. Strength and conditioning is a big part of my training and with each set of lifts the heart rate is spiked and really gets the blood flowing to the muscles.
Small Things Still Count
It is never too late to improve your heart health. From something as simple as walking to the shops rather than driving, it isn’t difficult to fit in small, easy exercises on a regular basis. I find that listening to different audio books on my AfterShokz headphones encourages me to actually make these small changes. I’m always keen to go on my next walk and find out what happens in the next episode.