It’s official – the warm weather has arrived here in sunny Santa Cruz, California! There’s no better time of year to get outside and take advantage of our gorgeous scenery, from the beaches to Pogonip, the Henry Cowell Redwoods to DeLaveaga Park. Whether you prefer walking, biking, hiking or horseback riding, you find plenty of places to do it in the Santa Cruz region.
But getting active offers more benefits than simply an enjoyment of nature. Did you know that exercise has a direct effect on your heart – and your overall – health? Studies show that regular physical activity that increases your heart rate decreases the risk of heart disease by 20 to 60 percent.
And that’s not all – just 30 minutes of exercise per day works to lower blood pressure, decrease LDL – “bad” – cholesterol levels, and keep your arteries more elastic. However, even light to moderate exercise has a beneficial effect on heart disease risk.
If you haven’t exercised for a while, ease into your new routine slowly. You may want to start by taking a stroll on one of the many walking paths around Santa Cruz, such as the nature trail that connects the Monarch and Moore Creek Trails in Natural Bridges State Park. This easy walk is just 1.2 miles long, yet it includes beachfront views, a butterfly preserve and a eucalyptus grove.
And, if you’re new to exercise, you may want to take a friend along. After all, studies show that when people receive (BLS) basic life support – like CPR and defibrillation from an AED – immediately after a cardiac event, the higher their survival rate.
We’re lucky enough to live in one of the most beautiful places on the West Coast, so get out there and get moving! Your heart will thank you.