by: Elizabeth Phinney
Healthy Heart, Healthy YOU
You have heard the expression, “come from your heart and not your head.” The symbol of love is a heart. “We ‘heart’ New York” is the state’s slogan. When we point to ourselves, we typically point directly to our heart.
What is it about the heart that makes it so sentimental? So much a symbol of our emotions? A symbol of who we are?
Perhaps, because when it stops functioning, we die within a very short period of time. We need the heart to pump blood throughout our body, which carries all the nutrients and oxygen to our various organs and tissues so that they, too, may survive and thrive. It is the one organ that is literally connected to all the others because of this flow of blood. When the heart is mal-nourished or sickly, it cannot function at its peak potential. This is what happens to over 30% of Americans. And 80% of these diagnoses are preventable.
We literally are what we eat and what we are eating is simply not good for us. To reduce your odds of heart disease, you need to maintain a reasonable weight for your height. Eating more vegetables rather than simple carbohydrates found in flour and sugar will certainly help with this plan. Reducing your meat consumption and eating more fish as protein will also help. The options are available to you for healthier choices for your heart, but it is up to you to make the commitment to yourself to make those choices.
We often forget that the heart is a muscle. As with all muscles, it needs to be exercised to be strong and stay strong. We lose ½ lb. of muscle tissue every year beginning in our early 30’s and the heart, as a muscle, is in that loss.
Aerobic exercise is the best way to keep your heart muscle strong. Walking is a great way to start, just make sure that your pace is giving you enough of a workout and that your heart is pumping in your preferred range. Running is not recommended unless you are not overweight at all. If you research “kinds of aerobic exercises” on the Internet, you will be presented with a multitude of choices. The best way to monitor your heart during exercise is with a heart rate monitor. But, you need to find something that you enjoy doing or you simply won’t do it.
Remember, aerobic exercise along with healthy food choices will help your heart and your body get and stay much healthier and stronger for years to come.