February is well under way and we are quickly approaching one of those holidays I love to hate: Valentine’s Day. Some refer to it as a “Hallmark Holiday”; a day commercialized in order to guilt people into purchasing over priced roses, chocolates, cards and numerous other red and pink items. Setting my cynicism aside, my heart still speeds up when I think of a romantic card or heart shaped box of chocolates waiting for me from my husband. When in doubt, get the chocolates.
Given the heart motif, it is understandable how the American Heart Association piggybacks on the theme and has designated February “American Heart Month”. Anyone with the tiniest amount of medical knowledge will admit that the heart is pretty darn important to our overall health. Some ‘side’ benefits to a healthy heart are numerous, but the one I find the most interesting (surprise!) is the affect on our hearing.
People with a strong, healthy cardiovascular system are less prone to hearing loss that those with an impaired system. In a nutshell, the reason is that the cochlea, the sensory organ for hearing in the inner ear, relies on an efficient flow of oxygenated blood and is quite sensitive to even minor abnormalities. So much so that some researchers believe that if a hearing loss is identified, it is recommended to look into factors that may affect cardio health (diet, exercise, other habits and family history. Eating right, not smoking, exercising and getting enough rest effect just about every organ in the body.
In a perfect world, everyone would exercise in a quiet atmosphere, or at least with music at safe levels. It is common knowledge that loud noise/music can damage structures in the ear and cause hearing loss. Research indicates that the benefit of exercise still outweighs the potential of loud noise exposure (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7934760). So you are better off running with your iPod than doing nothing in the quiet. Personally, I like to do both.
The bottom line is eat healthy foods in moderation, get up and move, listen to music if that inspires you, just not too loudly, and don’t forget to laugh! Laughter reduces stress and improves circulation. So I’ll leave this post with a couple of corny jokes:
Girl: "I can't be your valentine for medical reasons."
Girl: "Yeah, you make me sick!"
What do single people call Valentine's Day?