February is American Heart month ( Community Care Givers Blog)
What are some ways that you can be good to your heart.
Well, we all have heard the stop smoking, decrease cholesterol, blood pressure, your food intake and increase your exercise. Those are all very good but there is mounting evidence that stress can harm our hearts. “There are studies to show that stress is comparable to other risk factors that we traditionally think of as major, like hypertension, poor diet, and lack of exercise,” says Kathi Heffner, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Rochester Center for Mind-Body Research at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.
Here are some stress reducing tips.
- Yoga, and meditation have been shown to lower stress and increase our immune systems. You know yoga is not just for the young. I was quite intimidated by yoga, being 57 years old and not really knowing what yoga was. All I could think of was people on mats in little thin stretchy suites. It really is very soothing and leaves you with a “good” feeling afterwards.
- Connecting with one another is another great idea. We need to have our “people”. For every person this is different. We need people that we can be honest with, who don’t care how we look or what we wear and they will always be there for us no matter what.
- Helping others. There is something amazing about helping someone and, doing good! We need this in our world today. Bake some cookies and take them to the fire department. Get someone’s mail for them while they are on vacation and bake them a loaf of bread to enjoy when they come home. Visit the nursing home and ask if there is someone there who has no visitors. Pay it forward, in a coffee line, groceries or fast food pay for someone’s order.
- Laugh! Laughter can burn up 20% more calories. “Mirth also increased heart rate and, in a 2010 study in the American Journal of Cardiology, was shown to improve vascular function. So laugh a little or, better yet, a lot.”