Healthy Habit # 8 Hobbies are Good for Your Heart

Good news! It’s time to dust off that passion that you can’t seem to find time for. Pursuing your hobbies for as little as 20 minutes a week is good for your heart. Even better news, it doesn’t matter what your hobby is as long as you enjoy doing it. Here are some tips and tricks for finding those elusive 20 minutes and putting them in your schedule. https://happyhealth.ca/2022/01/habit-2-schedule/


Hobbies are just as good for your heart as exercise

Heart disease is the leading cause of death. Unmanaged stress is linked to heart disease. Stress causes us to release the hormone cortisol which raises our heart rate and blood pressure. How we manage our stress will help us prevent heart disease. 


 Top tips for finding a hobby that fits?

Sometimes we don’t know what to do with our free time or we want to get the most out of our limited free time. Here are the top tips for relaxing hobbies

1-Go outside (walk, hike, photography, sightseeing)

2-Join a group-loneliness increases our stress so any activity that you enjoy in a group setting will decrease your stress

3-Add music-you can sit and listen to it, join a fitness class that plays music while you move, or learn to play an instrument

4-Do something with your hands, knitting reduces all sorts of stress-related aliments, but anything you build with your hands will do the samehttps://www.lifehack.org/314247/6-unexpected-benefits-knitting

5-The hobby will have the best long term impact on your physical and mental health will be the one that engages you mentally as well as physically



Habit # 7 Train your Heart Rate Zone

Why heart rate zones are more important than calorie counts for successful workouts

What is Heart Rate Zones training?

Heart rate zone training is how most athletes train. They set out their training plans to incorporate short high-intensity workouts (higher zones) with long slower endurance training sessions (lower zones). They don’t keep doing the exact same workout and expect to improve. You can figure out your heart rate zone by figuring out your max heart rate.

What is Max Heart Rate?

The simplest calculation for your max heart rate is 220 minus your age. You will be in your peak heart rate zone for very short bursts during sprints or HIIT efforts. Most of your cardiovascular training should be in lower zones so you can build your endurance, pace, power and then speed. Just like in strength training, you wouldn’t walk into a gym lift your heaviest weight once and call it a workout. You need to lift all kinds of weights in all kinds of ways to build your strength.

How do I calculate my Zones?

Zone 1 is Light 50-60% of your max heart rate. This would be achieved through a walking pace that you could do all day. This is your recovery and warm-up heart rate.

Zone 2 is Endurance 60-70% of your max heart rate. This is light cardiovascular exercise and may help you lose weight if you kept it up for longer than an hour. 

Zone 3 is Tempo 70-80% of your max heart rate. This is where you will be when everything is feeling like you are in the meat of your cardio session. This is the last aerobic heart rate zone before you hit your anaerobic threshold.

Zone 4 is Power 80-90% of your max heart rate. You won’t want to talk in this zone. You’ll feel the workload. In this heart rate zone, you’ll be getting closer to your lactate threshold and anaerobic training. 

Zone 5 is Sprint 90-100% of your max heart rate. This is where you’ll find yourself during a really tough, intense part of a workout and it will only be sustainable for a very short amount of time as you aren’t using your aerobic system so you’ll fatigue quickly.

How Do You use Zones?

The purpose of heart rate zone training is to measure your workout effort and help you get more results from your efforts. As you build more endurance your heart will not have to work as hard during a workout. So you might have been in zone 4 when you first started running but now the same distance and speed is only a zone 2 effort for you. You can do a couple of different things with this information. You can increase your endurance by staying in a zone 2-3 effort for a much longer time or you can push yourself to get back into zone 4 for the same amount of time which will increase your power.

Heart rate zones are also an excellent way of managing your workouts during times when you aren’t 100%. Your heart rate will be higher if you are stressed, lack sleep, have allergies etc. This way you can listen to your body and either shorten your workout if you are in zone 4 or lessen the intensity of your workout. 

The more time you spend in the lower zones-building your base-you more efficient your body will become and the more obtainable speed and power will become. Start small with one change a week https://happyhealth.ca/2022/01/habit-2-schedule/


Healthy Habit # 6 Protect your heart with sleep

Want to reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke by 50%? How about reducing your chances of dementia? Of course, we want those things, but that doesn’t help us sleep. How do we build the healthy habit of sleep? What healthy habits help us sleep better?

Here are 5 proven habits to try from the Mayo Clinic


1. Stick to a sleep schedule

Set aside no more than eight hours for sleep. The recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult is at least seven hours. Most people don’t need more than eight hours in bed to achieve this goal.

Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Try to limit the difference in your sleep schedule on weeknights and weekends to no more than one hour. Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle.

If you don’t fall asleep within about 20 minutes, leave your bedroom and do something relaxing. Read or listen to soothing music. Go back to bed when you’re tired. Repeat as needed.

2. Pay attention to what you eat and drink

Don’t go to bed hungry or stuffed. In particular, avoid heavy or large meals within a couple of hours of bedtime. Your discomfort might keep you up.

Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol deserve caution, too. The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine take hours to wear off and can wreak havoc on quality sleep. And even though alcohol might make you feel sleepy, it can disrupt sleep later in the night.

3. Create a restful environment

Create a room that’s ideal for sleeping. Often, this means cool, dark and quiet. Exposure to light might make it more challenging to fall asleep. Avoid prolonged use of light-emitting screens just before bedtime. Consider using room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.

Doing calming activities before bedtime, such as taking a bath or using relaxation techniques, might promote better sleep.

4. Limit daytime naps

Long daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep. If you choose to nap, limit yourself to up to 30 minutes and avoid doing so late in the day.

If you work nights, however, you might need to nap late in the day before work to help make up your sleep debt.

5. Include physical activity in your daily routine

Regular physical activity can promote better sleep. Avoid being active too close to bedtime, however.

Spending time outside every day might be helpful, too.

6. Manage worries

Try to resolve your worries or concerns before bedtime. Jot down what’s on your mind and then set it aside for tomorrow.

Stress management might help. Start with the basics, such as getting organized, setting priorities and delegating tasks. Meditation also can ease anxiety.

Know when to contact your doctor

Nearly everyone has an occasional sleepless night — but if you often have trouble sleeping, contact your doctor. Identifying and treating any underlying causes can help you get the better sleep you deserve.

Other Resources



Habit #4 Review, Reset, Refocus

Review your plan and change your plan to meet your goals (if needed)

1-Review What Worked and What Didn’t

Are you feeling Happy and Healthy? Most of us have struggled to meet all of our get-fit goals. Review your measurements from HappyFitHabit # 1. Are there any positive changes in what matters most? I saw no change in my weight, although I’ve been eating a healthier diet. My husband lost 7 pounds, so I’m frustrated! However, I reviewed my measurements and found I’d lost 7cm. So I’m getting denser? 

Take a few minutes to review your plan and what got you off track. Be honest with yourself, no judgement, just look at your scheduled workouts or diet and what you ended up doing instead. Did you undereat day after day and end up tired and so hungry that you couldn’t help yourself but overeat with whatever came to hand? Did you plan to work out at a time that really doesn’t work for you? Or maybe your workouts were too intense, and you ended up injured. There are a million different ways to get off track and just as many ways to get back on track. Once you have a clear idea of why your plan didn’t work, you can reset it.

2-Reset your Plan

If your plan wasn’t working, reset it. This sounds much simpler than it is. My plan was a pretty simple one I’d workout for at least 30 minutes a day and follow my diet guidelines. I took rest days when life got in the way, which was about twice a week. I think my plan is working for me, even though I haven’t lost any weight. I’m going to be more intentional with planning my workouts. I’m going to lift weights in the gym twice a week, do cardio three times a week, and have a reformer workout day. 

Stack my Schedule

I will make this adjusted workout schedule easier to follow by planning my workouts to occur along with something I’m already committed to doing. Accountability helps people stay on track, and I’m going to add accountability by asking someone to join me in some of my workouts. 


Refocusing is hard. We have to change the story we tell ourselves before actual change can occur. Most of us aren’t aware of why we keep getting in our way. Let me suggest a simple phrase to say that I got from my coach, Amy K, when you struggle and can’t figure out why.

Even though I….. (whatever it is that is holding you back)

I love and trust myself enough to …..(whatever it is that is you have planned)

Even though I’m not athletic

I love and trust myself enough to go to the gym for 30 minutes.

Try it; it’s surprising how effective it is.


Welcome to 52 Happy Fit Habits

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” 

John Bingham

Why another fitness blog?

Welcome to my 52-week healthy habits journey back into a fitter, happier lifestyle. 

Healthy habits work, and I’m going to explore which ones to use, how to make them stick, and why they work.

I’m a middle-aged fitness professional who lost my fitness lifestyle during the pandemic (who didn’t?), and I’m going to start again from the beginning. I’ve spent the last ten years helping people find and build their fitness path. So it’s a little embarrassing to find myself so off track. I love this quote from John Bingham, and I think about it every time I meet someone starting on their fitness journey. We have to find the courage to start something new and stick to it.

Habits work

It’s tough to start something new that will disrupt how you live your day to day life. I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. There is no get-fit-quick program that you will sustain over the long term. What works is consistent effort building healthier habits.

I will use the best health and wellness practices to build the happyfithabits. Building one habit a week will help us sustain changes over the long haul. It will also show how fitness professionals select programs or fitness tools at different stages of their programs. We will use what works and set ourselves up to succeed by building habits that work well together.

There are many different ways for you to apply a healthy habit

I’m going to be the example, but you’ll be able to apply these methods and habits to your fitness journey in a way that works for you. 

Please remember: No one thing works for everyone, but everyone can find something that works for them.

What I used to do doesn’t work for my body or time of life anymore, so I’m going to explore my fitness journey the same way I train others: by meeting them where they are at, exploring how they like to move, and applying fitness fundamentals one habit at a time. 

Nothing happens overnight. We will build our new path one habit at a time. Yes, we will fall off track from time to time, but habits are sticky. Once we’ve built a practical habit that serves our lifestyle we will find it easier to return to.

Please feel free to join me, ask questions, let me know what works (or doesn’t work) for you.