3 Heart Health Tips We Need To Talk About
3 Heart Health Tips We Need To Talk About
Let’s get to the heart about heart health…
Here’s the thing, when we talk about heart health, we tend to talk about the physical things that impact our heart like diet, activity, lifestyle, etc.
The world tells us in order to have a healthy heart we need to eat certain foods, exercise a certain way and of course, take some kind of vitamin or supplement. And all of this is true—I’ve been a personal trainer and nutritionist for over 20 years and there’s no doubt these things work.
That being said, what I have learned from working with women is that we are all crying out for so much more than just physical heart health.
So I wanted to flip the narrative on heart health and talk about it from a different perspective.
Us women are complicated and our hearts are woven together with three equally life-giving threads— mind, body, and spirit. Attending to each thread allows us to create long-term, sustainable heart health, and wellbeing.
Let’s get into it…
The Mind – Emotional Health & Heart Health
We’ve all heard the saying before, “the mind is a powerful thing.” But when we really think about it, I don’t know if all of us understand the true power that the mind has over the body.
The mind controls every single action and reaction by the body. From regulatory functions to managing extreme stress levels, the mind is the mitigator for the body, instructing it what to do next. When our minds are clear and stress levels are low, we can observe what’s happening around us, process it, and respond appropriately with ease.
But as we all know, life is not all smooth sailing all the time.
Life throws stressors at us constantly. These stressors come in all different shapes and sizes and can directly affect how our mind mitigates stress and processes our emotions. As stressors continue to pile on, our hearts get heavy, so it starts compensating in other places.
What starts out as small responses like short-temperedness, frustration, sadness, doubt, and other overwhelming emotions over time build up and cause real-life health problems like severe anxiety, depression, heart disease, and all sorts of other long-term health problems.
How can we restore our minds to improve our heart health?
Our minds and our hearts are deeply connected to one another. When one experiences stress, so does the other. Thus, it would make sense for us to relieve the mind of those stressors that can weigh our hearts and health down.
And there are tons of ways for us to do that!
Simply put, it means that hanging out with friends and having meaningful conversations can make your heart healthier! Think of it like the social equivalent of eating your veggies.
Here are a few practices I’ve implemented into my life to help improve my mind and heart health:
- Getting coffee with a friend every other week—it gets me out of the house and into a conversation with someone I enjoy talking to.
- Exploring a new creative pursuit—mine has been learning about olive oil lately.
- Have some good old fashioned fun—my husband and I recently rode electric scooters around our city after dinner and drinks!
Finding your unique way to relieve your mind of life’s constant stressors is a sure way to improve your heart health.
The Body – Physical Health & Heart Health
There’s a big problem these days—most people do not stay up to date on current research around health, and as such, rely on outdated information that’s no longer true.
Remember in the ’90s when the CDC told us that all fat was bad and a low-fat high-carb diet was best for our heart health and that 60 minutes of intense cardio was the ideal way to lose weight and feel healthy?
Much has changed since then. The science behind the food pyramid from the ’90s is old news and the CDC now recommends a more balanced plate model approach.
In the RESTORE Program, we take the CDC plate model and adjust it to work specifically for women in the perimenopause and menopause seasons of life.
When it comes to exercise, the fact of the matter is that 20-30 minutes of brisk walking, short-duration interval strength training, and listening to our bodies, rather than stressing them by over-exercising, is a much better path to long-term sustainable health.
How do we restore our physical health to improve our heart health?
Here are a few of the key physical practices that I follow that keep my heart at the top of the priority list and pumping just the way I want it to:
- Walk for 20 minutes a day—I use this time to talk to my husband after a long day of work.
- Get 8 hours of sleep—Creating a consistent bedtime routine that allows me to wind down was a game-changer.
- Prioritize whole food nutrition—It seems obvious, but when you put good stuff in, you get good stuff back out. For me, this means getting lean protein, clean carbs, and fresh vegetables in every meal.
The Spirit – Spiritual Health & Heart Health
Heart health is about more than just managing stress and eating a few vegetables here and there.
Investing in our spiritual health can create a sense of purpose, foster peace, improve mindfulness, and most importantly build hope in our hearts when life is not going quite the way we want it to.
Heck, even research suggests that spirituality can improve your well-being, happiness, hope, optimism, and gratefulness.
To top it off, there have even been studies that have shown meditation to be a significant cardiovascular risk-reducer!
The best part about all of this is that there are so many practices that can help us develop our spiritual health. Things like prayer, meditation, and engaging in a faith community are fruitful ways to grow spiritually—even a walk in nature can be a catalyst for spiritual growth.
How do we grow our spiritual health to improve our heart health?
Here are a few of the key spiritual practices that I rely on to support the spiritual health of my heart:
- Spend the first moments of the day with God in prayer & meditation—This helps give me a heavenly perspective on what’s in front of me each day, what actually needs to be done, and what’s causing me stress that’s not as important as I think it is.
- Get rooted in a faith community—Whether it’s connecting with faith-filled friends, attending mass, or jumping into an online group my spiritual health thrives in community.
- Get to know God a little more each day through HIS living word—Sometimes it’s reading a daily reflection, right now, my favorite is Grace for the Moment. Other days it’s listening to uplifting spiritual music, a podcast, or a good Sunday sermon online.
Show some love to your heart and your heart will love you back…
The heart is a beautiful part of our being.
It’s the thing that keeps us going in this life and we owe it to our hearts to give it some serious love.
Whether it be our mind, body, or spirit, the health of our heart is dependent on the balance of these three elements and when we start focusing on them altogether, we create long-term sustainable health.
Heart health can sometimes be confusing, so I want to make it a little easier on you.
Below, I’ve gone ahead and pulled together some of my favorite, simple resources focused on heart health. Each of them comes from reputable sources and are simple suggestions, ideas, and studies that have been done by medical professionals.
I always encourage my people to do their own research and want to aid in that process by providing resources like the list below.
And if you’re thinking you are ready to make the jump into a new healthy life, the RESTORE Program is kicking off a new session coming in March 2022!