According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC), cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.

The good news is heart disease is preventable.

The bad news… statistically, we are not doing well.

Over 2353 people die from a heart attack or stroke every single day.

That’s a lot of people!

No doubt, we need to make better food choices. Most Americans (and now the world) are eating fast food, junk food, and hydrogenated fats in record numbers. Plus soda, high fructose corn syrup, and sugar, sugar, sugar in everything we eat – it’s ridiculous!

High sugar consumption is directly linked to inflammation and heart disease.

We can’t solely point the finger at our diet though – some of our lifestyle choices aren’t too good either.  We are sedentary more often than not.

Many of us start our day moving as little as possible.

We get up every morning, either sit at our desk if we are working from home or slide into the car to get to work.  And I’m guilty of this; we then sit in front of a computer for the majority of the day.

There’s barely any movement at all… except to lift a cup of coffee to our lips! And, now with the lockdowns in place, more and more people aren’t moving their bodies at all.

The heart needs daily physical exercise. So if you’re off-track, you first need to re-train yourself. Whenever you see a set of stairs (they’re usually conveniently located directly beside the escalator), use them.

And, if your gym is closed and you get inspired, go out and do some intentional cardiovascular exercises as well. That includes running, walking at a brisk pace (one of my faves), jumping jacks, biking, swimming, cross-country skiing, treadmill, rowing machine… you pick it.

There are many different exercises to choose from. All you gotta do… is choose to do them. And if you need an accountability coach, one of the 4 pillars I work on with my clients, choose movement. (Some of my clients have even chosen belly-dancing! I don’t care what you choose but choose something.) Even starting your day with some simple stretches is perfect…

There is no denying we need great quality food and daily exercise to support the health of our heart.

But, there’s something else.

Something so important and yet, it’s rarely addressed. By far, this “something” is one of the biggest contributors to heart disease known to mankind.

We’ve all heard the story of ‘Bill’ who was super healthy and ate all the right foods, plus he ran four times per week, and didn’t smoke or drink in excess, and then… BOOM! He drops dead of a heart attack at forty-seven years old!

We scratch our heads and say, “What the heck happened?”

Maybe Bill’s heart disease was much deeper than what we can see on the surface.

The heart is the motivator of the human spirit and it is the emotional center of our human body. When our body, spirit, and emotions are functioning optimally there is a great sense of joy, love, compassion, and inner peace.

It’s possible that ‘Bill” could have been holding onto anger at his ex-wife who left him for his best friend, or was resentful for being overlooked for the pay raise he expected, or was unable to forgive his alcoholic father for childhood neglect and abuse, or maybe he was simply afraid to open his heart and love someone for fear of being hurt.

There are many emotional scenarios that could literally seize the heart and stop it from functioning.

Sometimes we need to go a little deeper to get the true motivator of our human spirit working properly at all levels: physical, emotional, and spiritual.

It’s imperative to exercise our heart on many levels.

That means…eat well, do some daily physical exercise, and forgive someone (including yourself), for any past hurts.

Get down to the heart of the matter and see if there’s something that could be holding your heart back from functioning at its best, and always remember to exercise your big beautiful heart.