As we look at reducing the risk of chronic illness during the month of September, it’s important to note that addressing cardiovascular disease is essential. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, killing one person every 36 seconds (CDC, 2018). Pause and count to 36 seconds–that is an alarming number of people!
Interestingly enough, keeping our physical heart healthy isn’t just about the physical actions we can take such as exercising and eating well. In fact, I would personally warrant that only has some impact on our total heart health. Mindset is important and is a key part of our emotional well-being. We have talked about how all of the dimensions of well-being are integrated, but at the core of our Balanced Wellness model is spirituality. Spiritual well-being can be defined in a variety of ways with many different words, most stemming around the purpose and meaning of life. It can also be expanded to state our goals, values and belief systems, which is why spirituality has such an impact on our health, and is, most certainly, a heart issue. Purpose and beliefs encourage our behaviors as do goals and values.
It is the HEART that is the HUB of our body and our well-being! Ask yourself–Do you value your health and the benefits allowed a healthy person enough to set a firm resolve to eat well, reduce stress, and move? Do you believe you can impact your health? Do you believe strongly in the ‘system’ you use to achieve health? For instance, do you believe that a whole food nutrition plan is beneficial and worth the effort? However, you answer, we encourage you to go for the why. Bring out the 2-year-old in you and continue to ask why until you get deep into what the value is and why are you doing it! To sum it all up, spirituality is a solid foundation to improve your mental health, and mental health is a solid strategy for reducing heart disease. In a recent study, a sense of total well-being was been shown to reduce the risk of developing heart disease by 30%.
Try it out: Exercises to improve your emotional and spiritual well-being include gratitude journaling, positive affirmations, and a variety of different meditations.
Of course, physical exercise is important for your heart too. Getting a balanced program including cardiovascular training, strength training, flexibility training and neuromuscular training is important. (Don’t forget–cardiovascular is different than physical activity, as physical activity is movement measured by steps.) To train the heart as a muscle you must ‘work it’ by increasing your heart rate for at least 10 minutes. To do this, simply apply the F.I.T.T. principle.
Interested in creating a specific plan that works for you? Ask us about our wellness coaching! Sign up for a complimentary session.