Be Sweet to Your Heart

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart,” said Confucius. Helen Keller noted, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” We attribute, A good heart is better than all the heads in the world  to Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton.

You could say we put our heart into everything we do and everything we are – every action we take, every emotion we feel, and every expression we make. In fact, if it weren’t for our heart, where would we be?

There are people with very kind hearts, but unfortunately, along life’s journey we also encounter people with less-than-kind hearts. The Bible says the condition of your heart will determine how your life turns out.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23

But, it shouldn’t be just during February, the month for love and all things heart shaped, when you think about your heart. Your heart needs to be in good shape to “go” all the time. So, this month, especially, why not show your heart a little love. All it takes is a few healthy habits to keep your ticker tocking.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, your heart beats about 100,000 times a day and pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood throughout the body. In order to keep heart healthy, try and follow these healthy tips.

  • Get Plenty of Sleep:Some people stay up late at night reading while others binge watch Netflix shows or a movie. Hopefully, that’s not a regular habit. According to research, getting less than six hours of sleep nightly can contribute to heart disease.
  • If Laughter is the Best Medicine, then some people will live forever. A study conducted by the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests that laughter may play a role in protecting the heart. The study found those people with heart disease were less likely to recognize humor or use it during uncomfortable situations. They generally laughed less – even in positive situations – and displayed more anger and hostility. Laughter can improve the function of blood vessels and increase blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other heart issues. The point? Giggles can be good for your heart.
  • Rolling Right Along:Even a healthy heart needs exercise. Adults who engage in 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity five times a week reduce their risk of a cardiac event. Research suggests that regular exercise benefits us in a number of ways, including a reduction in body weight, blood pressure, and “bad” cholesterol, as well as an increase in good cholesterol, and insulin sensitivity.
  • Fuel Up Wisely:The saying, “you are what you eat” is true. The foods that you consume each day can impact the health of your heart. According to the American Heart Association’s Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations, you should eat a variety of nutritious foods from all the food groups. Stay hydrated by consuming water throughout the day. Dehydration makes your heart have to work harder. Avoid trans fats by reading labels and avoiding packaged foods that contain the word “hydrogenated” in the ingredient list. This ingredient puts you at higher risk for a heart attack or stroke.
  • We’ve Got Your Number: Do you? Not your phone number, street number, or bank account number, but your health numbers – blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose levels. These are important to know so you can keep your health in check and make necessary lifestyle modifications. It’s also important to know your family’s health history. Did your grandfather or great-grandfathers have high blood pressure, heart problems? Having this important information can help you manage your wellbeing and heart health.
  • Know the Signs:Heart attack and stroke are serious, life-threatening emergencies. Become familiar with the signs and symptoms – sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, leg, especially on one side of the body; confusion or trouble understanding speech; trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, coordination; severe headache with no known cause.
  • Manage Your Stress: Is your life stress free? Probably not. It’s important to learn to manage stress before it causes health issues. Get out and exercise, try yoga, meditation, gardening, or anything enjoyable to reduce the stress.

There are many ways to improve heart health – we just have to be willing to put in the steps needed. And remember, you are worth it, so get started. Begin by putting yourself at the top of your to-do-list and make yourself and your heart a priority. During this month of love, do it for all of those you love, but especially yourself.

If you carry joy in your heart, you can heal any moment,” said musician, Carlos Santana.