You Can’t BEAT a Healthy Heart
By: Kevin Wren
Your heart is the strongest muscle in your body. You can go to your local gym and pump iron day and night and get the largest biceps, triceps and so on, but that ten ounce, hollow, cone-shaped muscle nestled mostly to the left of the center of your chest is “all that and a side of fries”. So needless to say, if your heart is not happy and healthy, the rest of your body is not happy and healthy.
Multiple factors contribute to increased risks for problems and complications with your heart such as smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, and drug abuse, but by far, obesity is the leader of the pack. The past 20 years has shown obesity to be on the rise in the United States at an alarming rate. The latest information from the Center for Disease Control indicates that 35.7% of adults and 17% of children and adolescents are obese. Understand that your heart doesn’t have an on and off switch to conserve energy like the lights in your home or a computer. It is pumping blood throughout your entire body 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So when this precious muscle is made to work harder to compensate for a heavier body, it’s a disaster waiting to happen.
Don’t be fooled by every other 30 minute infomercial that you see on television. You don’t have to buy magical miracle pills or exercise equipment. It’s not a matter of what you have. It’s what you do. For instance, if you smoke or use any kind of tobacco product, quit. Besides drastically reducing the risk of atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries), you will save money. Let’s say the average pack of cigarettes cost four dollars and you are a moderate smoker averaging two packs a week. Multiply that by four weeks and you are spending about thirty two dollars a month or approximately four hundred dollars a year. You should engage in some kind of exercise for thirty minutes at least four times a week. No, you don’t need to sign up for a membership at a gym. You eat and sleep in your gym all the time -your home. Exercise can be anything from sit ups and pushups, to riding a bicycle, to walking your dog. Now while you are doing all this healthy stuff on the outside, remember what you are putting inside your mouth. Start reading nutrition labels and remember that if one of the first couple of ingredients is sugar or corn syrup, don’t get it. Three things that I keep in mind that have helped me considerably are
1. Green is keen (salads and vegetables)
2. Chicken and fish are delish
3. More water in helps you win
If you are not a world acclaimed master chef, don’t be afraid to ask family and friends how they prepare their healthy foods. You wouldn’t believe how many helpful tips and recipes are available on the internet and many times you can find easy recipes for healthy foods at farmers markets, a butcher, or a fish monger. And by all means, stay in touch with your physician. Periodic health screenings that include checking your height and weight, blood pressure, and drawing blood to check cholesterol levels will help reinforce the progress you are making in your journey towards having a healthy heart.
From a holistic stand point, having a healthy heart promotes having a healthy body and state of mind. When you “sneak a snack”, are you out in plain view for everyone to see or do you keep to yourself? I typically seclude myself when I am putting something in my mouth that I know I shouldn’t. But when you are feeling and acting healthy, you want everybody to know it. You walk a little taller, smile a little brighter, you have more energy, and your attitude is better (it can even be contagious). Think about it. When was the last time someone asked you how you got heavier as opposed to how you started getting leaner? So put down the remote control, grab an apple, and head out the door. There’s a big beautiful world out there waiting for you and it looks so much better with you in it!