Matters of the Heart Could Be Deadly
We’re all familiar with the age-old adage “Follow your heart”. We got it from a wise grandmother, mentor or BFF when considering life-changing decisions. The heart has been unofficially crowned the “discerner of truth” in many areas of life. When we look back at the decisions we made against what was truly in our hearts, many of us find ourselves with a great deal of regret and end up saying “I should have followed my heart”. This power of guidance and direction that we align with the abilities of the heart are all based on the intangible. Well, in my experience, I must say that I both agree and disagree with this as I’m also an advocate of logic and reason!
What I can agree 100% on is the importance we must place on the heart. Not, however, for intangible reasons, but for the very tangible and frequently over looked physical indicators that have a direct impact on our health. We know there’s a path we should take when seeking to regain or achieve a healthy lifestyle. We’ve all been there. Too many Januarys have come and gone and with it our goals to begin working out again and then, in the blink of an eye, we realize we have not workout in years. I know it’s hard to read or say out loud, so I will say ouch for all of us. Ouch! Now, we look up and are being described as living a sedentary lifestyle - Ugh! A sedentary lifestyle is defined by not getting a regular amount of physical activity. Okay so what’s regular? Because I abhor generalizations. As defined by the Center for Disease Control, an individual should participate in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of a more vigorous regimen a week. And according to the World Health Organization, 60 to 85% of us fall short of this requirement, so you are not alone. The American Heart Association reports that sedentary jobs have increased 83 percent since 1950. Physically active jobs now make up less than 20 percent of the U.S. workforce, down from roughly half of jobs in 1960**. In other words, society is not yet geared toward assisting in our bodies’ need for an active lifestyle.
What really sparked my attention is the effect of inactivity on our hearts! Our hearts are the COO reporting to the control center a.k.a. the CEO, our brain. No circulation of the blood, no life. In our blood, holds the very nutrients and oxygen that keep our bodies performing. You can experience many body dysfunctions, but the diminishing function of the heart is life threatening. This fact is the basis of my argument today, because a sedentary lifestyle can drastically impact the heart’s ability to function. Studies show that individuals observed with prolonged sedentary time have displayed both higher diastolic and systolic blood pressure, higher body mass index, greater waist circumference and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level to name a few risk factors for cardiovascular disease.* More common terms that we may be more familiar with from our doctors is that sedentary behaviors can lead to hypertension and hypercholesterolemia. In layman’s terms, our inactivity can put us in a very different condition of the heart than when we were in college on the track team working out twice a day or participating in football practice and lifting.
At that time, our heart health was not subject to the same risk factors. So, why then when we make the decisions to take back our health, get back on track with the needed physical activity, do we take the same steps that we did when we were in college! Yikes! I know we have all done it… Dusted off the workout clothes and headed to the gym and tried to remember the workout we use to do, Olympic lifting and all, jumping from no activity to vigorous activity on a heart with diminished function. That my loves is a recipe for disaster! We all must take back our health but we have to follow your heart - wisely. The path back to a healthy lifestyle is as unique as this body you possess. The first step, and the most important, is to get an accurate assessment of the current condition of your heart. Know all of your risk factor areas, so that you are aware of your body’s preparedness for exercise again. Then, you can determine what exact integration process is best for you individually to introduce exercise into your lifestyle. This will assure you do not plunge into more than your heart is ready to handle. Your heart is a muscle. And the risk of straining it can be life threatening. So, my loves embark on your journey to improve your health, but do not follow the path made for anybody, follow the path made for Your Body. Follow your heart!
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- World Health Organization