Your Whole Self, And Heart Health

Feb 17, 2023 | Health Highlights, News

February is National Healthy Heart month and Mid-State Health wants to help you think about the ways you can make changes in your daily habits to live a healthier life. The American Heart Association has a healthy living movement called ‘Healthy for Good’ with an approach that is simple: Eat Smart. Move more. Be well. Mid-State Health’s nutritionists, physical therapists and behavioral health providers couldn’t agree more!


Eat Smart

Healthy eating and cooking start with smart food choices. Learn what to look for at the grocery store, in restaurants, at your workplace and on any eating occasion. ‘Balance’ is the latest word on heart-healthy eating, according to a new report that encourages people to adapt broad eating habits instead of focusing on single foods—and it’s not one size fits all. Try to eat an overall healthy dietary pattern that emphasizes:

  • a wide variety of fruits and vegetables
  • whole grains and products made up mostly of whole grains
  • healthy sources of protein (nuts, legumes, seafood, low fat dairy, lean poultry and meat)
  • olive, avocado and coconut oils
  • try to limit processed foods, added sugars, high salt and alcohol


Move More

You’ll build more opportunities to be active into your routine when you find ways to move that you like. A good starting goal is 150 minutes a week; that’s 21 minutes a day or 5 days of 30 minutes. Physical activity is anything that moves your body and burns calories. This includes things like walking, climbing stairs and stretching. Aerobic (or ‘cardio’) activity gets your heart rate up and benefits your heart by improving cardiorespiratory fitness. When done at moderate intensity, your heart will beat faster and you’ll breathe harder than normal, but you’ll still be able to talk. Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activities:

  • brisk walking
  • water aerobics
  • dancing
  • gardening
  • tennis (doubles)
  • biking slower than 10 miles per hour

“If you’re just starting out, start with moderate activity. As you get stronger go for longer periods or increase your intensity by doing more vigorous activities like hiking, running, swimming laps, jumping rope, tennis (singles) or cycling faster than 10 miles per hour. Start where you can and the big takeaway is move more with more intensity and sit less,” said Matt Scagliarini, PT, DPT, Director of Rehab Services Mid-State Health.


Be Well

True health also includes getting good sleep, practicing mindfulness, managing stress, keeping mind and body fit and connecting socially. The behavioral health providers at Mid-State Health Center remind us that mental health includes our emotion, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. Practicing mindfulness and meditation may help you:

  • manage stress and high blood pressure
  • sleep better
  • feel more balanced and connected
  • lower our risk of heart disease

Meditation and mindfulness are practices—often using breathing, quiet contemplation or sustained focus on something, such as an image, phrase or sound—that help you let go of stress and feel more calm and peaceful. Think of it as a mini-vacation from the stress in your life!


The Bottom Line

Meditation can help you mange stress, sleep well and feel better; combined with lifestyle changes like eating healthier, managing your weight, and getting regular physical activity you’re on your way to living a heart healthy life.