A Heart-Centered Approach to Fitness


Your heart has a job – pumping oxygenated blood to your various tissues and organs to keep your body working. At it’s essence, it’s keeping you alive, so it behooves you to take good care of it with exercise. But there is a difference between heart healthy, and heart-centered. A heart-centered fitness approach takes into account more than just movement for heart health, it also acknowledges the roles of nutrition, and your emotions in a more holistic view.

Consider Your Body a Machine

While movement is very important in keeping your heart going strong, consider also the role of the fuel you choose. If your body was a high performance car, you would put in optimal fuel to get the best performance and keep that engine running smoothly. Nutrition should be the same–make the best choices you can to get the best performance from your body possible. That’ll keep your heart healthy and you the machine running smoothly and trouble free.

Steps to Improving Your Fuel

If you don’t know even where to start, and the thought of this makes you panic, think about making an appointment with one of our nutrition staff. If you’re already on the road to better choices, then these key points will help:

1. Whole foods, not processed. The closer to the source, the better!
2. Lots of fruits and veggies. They pack a good nutritional punch!
3. Variety is the spice of life. Lots of colors, lots of different foods, keep it varied.
4. Spice it up! Instead of added sugars or salt, add spices to add flavor.
5. Use lean protein sources like poulty, fish, or lean beef.
6. Incorporate healthy fats from nuts, seeds, and avocados.

Your Heart and Your Mind are Interwoven

Emotional fitness is important in a heart-centered approach. Research suggests that negative emotions affect not only your mind, outlook and spirit, but also your heart. As we need exercise to keep the heart healthy, we also need to work on our emotional fitness. Below are some suggestions you might employ as you reach for a calm spirit and a healthy heart:

  1. Meditate. It only takes 1 minute to begin to center yourself. Try my one minute meditation – Inhale slowly, 5 counts, pause, then exhale slowly, 5 counts. Do this 6 times.
  2. Take a break. About every hour, get up, walk around, clear your head, and breathe.
  3. Journal – You can go with a gratitude journal, or just a reflective journal. It helps put things into perspective.
  4. Try something new: a creative outlet, read a book, or pick something new to try.
  5. Get out there! Socialize, meet with other people.
  6. Get enough sleep.

Bringing your body back into balance will help you to bring your life back into balance. A holistic, heart-centered approach will help you to achieve your goals, and stay healthy.

Want more health and fitness advice? Let’s meet for a free one-on-one fitness consultation where we can chat about your goals and come up with a plan to get there.

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Written by Melissa Abramovich, ACE CPT, NASM CGT, AAHFRP Medical Exercise Specialist at Elite Sports Club-River Glen

Melissa Abramovich went into Personal Training and Group Exercise instruction after successfully losing 140 pounds through healthy diet and exercise. Her desire to help others drove her forward into a career helping others to make healthier choices. She is an ACE certified personal trainer and now also a Medical Exercise Specialist (AAHFRP), helping clients with a myriad of health issues at Elite Sports Clubs. She holds a Bachelor’s degree, and many group exercise related certifications as well.

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