Be still…. It’s good for your heart

Ever take a moment to just sit.. no distractions.. and just feel the air moving in and out of your lungs. Not planning your next move, or re-playing movies in your mind of the conversations & events of the past. Not distracting yourself in any way.. just sit.

Maybe its at your favorite park bench and hearing the sounds of the birds, or lake side.. feeling the breeze on your skin. Maybe its in your living room.. and just closing your eyes in a moment of complete silence. Just sit.

I know in some ways, as an exercise physiologist, this goes against everything we promote. We talk about moving.. less sitting! Get that body exercising.. getting stronger, getting that heart pumping, those vessels opening, and all the amazing benefits that come with that. And that’s all true!

However.. our minds are always busy… constant chatter going on.. running in circles.. our breathing gets shallow, we live in a heightened level of stress and don’t even know that we are. Those thoughts that are circulating in our brain can sometimes get so overpowering we feel paralyzed. They can impact our mood.. feelings of frustration, down, tired, or just off and don’t even know why. They can take away our motivation, our joy, our feeling of peace and happiness. We become almost a prisoner of our mind.

Time to break out!

Taking that moment in your day.. preferably in the morning as a way to set the day.. or at the end of the day as a calming reflection. These few moments can impact not only how you feel… but it impacts your body physically, as well as your choices and actions.

Sit.. take a few big deep breaths. Focus on nothing but the air going past your nose and into your lungs… and then exhale and let it all go. How do you want to feel today? List 5 things you are grateful for. Feel the sense of gratitude. Then don’t think at all. Just sit, breath, and soak up a few moments just for you.

So Shawna, how does this have anything to do with my heart?

By taking even just 5 mins a day.. can reduce your blood pressure and lower stress levels not only just in that moment, but for the day overall. Stress increases your risk for not only heart disease, but many other chronic conditions.

That’s great.. but the real GEM here is How You Feel! By improving your mood, and state of mind, you will feel more motivated & inspired for your day… you will feel more motivated to do the things that will help you maintain your health for example! Such as eating healthy, helping to cope with conflicts that come up in a better way and to make you more likely to get in that needed exercise!! We know definitively that how you feel, how you think, directly impacts your health. That is the most powerful benefit of all.

So sit.. just sit. It’s good for you.

Look to find guided meditations if you would like.. find one that feels just right for you. Google Deepak Chopra mediations for example. Guided meditations can often to assist you through the process, as you will find your mind can be very persistent in bringing you back to the chatter!  Using headphones in a place where nobody is around, and you can truly just let go and tune in is a fantastic idea as well.

Want to try yoga? Another great way to still your mind, and focus on your breath while you gently move your body. Join our Access Pass to get unlimited education and exercise videos including our Beginner yoga class with poses modified to be safe for those with cardiac concerns.

Have a fantastic day! Happy breathing.


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Shawna Cook

Shawna is a Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine, who has been working in Cardiac Rehabilitation for over 10 years. Her years in the health and fitness field however have spanned over the past 2+ decades. As an elite level athlete she fell in love with understanding the human body, and how the choices she made, affected how it performed. This led to a degree from the University of Winnipeg in the stream of Athletic Therapy, and the passion towards helping others recover from injury and "be their best selves" grew.