Lisa Brown: Heart of the matter

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To the editor:

People have good hearts or bleeding hearts. They can break hearts, wear hearts on their sleeves and sometime they do or do not have the heart for something.

Our culture’s many idioms reflect the integral nature of this powerful muscle to one’s wellbeing. Within these many ways to look at the heart, most fall either in the category of emotional or physical.

Much of the work we do at the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association is making sure to look at both the physical and emotional aspects of health and acknowledging one does not operate in isolation from the other.

Keeping your heart happy means keeping your heart healthy. The best way to do this is to toss your unhealthy habits and work toward replacing them with healthy habits for a healthier you.

I like to think of heart health in a couple of ways.

Physical health gives you energy. Some easy ways to do this are:

• Move more — get 30 minutes of brisk activity five days a week.

• Eat smart — eat fresh fruit and veggies, avoid big meals, eat more fiber, drink lots of water.

• Sleep — most adults need around seven hours, but you may need more.

• Lose a few pounds — carrying around extra pounds saps energy.

• Don’t use tobacco — quit using tobacco or, better yet, never start.

Equally as important is emotional heart health. Find what truly makes you happy:

• Spend time with people who lift you up.

• Lift up others when you can.

• Do work that makes you feel good.

• Find healthy ways to manage stress and take breaks for yourself.

• Commit to uninterrupted time with your family.

• Find what you love and are passionate about and focus your time and energy there.

Perhaps it’s time for a heart-to heart with yourself to identify how to keep your heart happy.

Start by knowing the numbers that matter. Schedule a free cardiovascular screening with us on Monday in Steamboat Springs or Tuesday in Craig.

Lisa Brown

Chief executive officer, Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association

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