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Senior Care Corner – Happy Hearts

by Elisa Ingoldby

In honor of the American Heart Association celebrating healthy heart month in February, I thought it would be appropriate to remind everyone to take care of our number one organ physically, mentally and spiritually. Think about it, how often do we wake up and say to ourselves, “I need to do something good for my heart today.” It’s easier to take care of other parts of our body, because those parts call out to us in pain, they ache and remind us they exist. If we have chest pain do we remember, wow, my heart hurts. I don’t have to remind people that heart disease is the number one killer in the United States. Let’s discuss happy heart options. Physically, our heart is a muscle. The four chambers are a precise machine that works miraculously in rhythm. The cardiac muscle, like all other muscles, needs exercise or it atrophies, plain and simple. If we don’t keep blood flowing through our arteries and veins, BOOM, it closes off with a fatty buildup and stops working. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of some form of exercise daily. For homebound seniors, I recommend walking in place and moving around the house if you can’t get outside to walk. Also, moving your limbs often keeps the joints freely moving. Mentally, our heart, like any other part of our body is affected by emotion. Our body manifests what our mind harbors. If we continue to think we are sick, we will be sick. If we own a “diagnosis,” we become that illness. I believe all of us have heard of people that have died from a broken heart. Some form of depression or grief could not be dealt with, and it eventually manifested and settled in the heart muscle. Spiritually, many people think that our soul and heart are one. John Ortberg, author of “Soul Keeping,” notes that our heart is the primary seat of choices we make from the core of who we are. When we do right or wrong, deeply our soul (or heart) knows it. Our will exists to be surrendered to our higher power and our mind should be under control of our will. He continues to say, if that were the case, we would be able to choose life-giving, truthful thoughts and healthy desires. In turn, our body would always submit to the mind, and our habits would line up with our values. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, our will has other ideas in mind. We know if we don’t take care of our body, any part of it, we will reap the consequences. Be happy in your heart. You only get one!