Did you know that February is National Heart Health Month? Maybe you’ve seen the “wear red” campaign online or in a commercial, or maybe you’ve noticed the bulletin board in the Wellness Center at the Y with the heart healthy challenge on it for the month of February. Or maybe you are first realizing this upon reading this blog post. Cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain, or stroke or are conditions that affect your heart’s muscle, valves or rhythm. Almost all of the risk factors for this disease are within your control and often preventable. A few risk factors out of your control are your age, gender and family history. Other than those, a few you do have some control over are:
- poor diet
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol
- physical inactivity
- poor stress management
- poor hygiene
- and just recently I read about a study that linked chronic pessimism as a risk factor
Cardiovascular disease is a potentially life-threatening disease that affects your physical heart. Utilizing the benefits of a Y membership are sure to decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease – joining a sport’s league, playing in the gym with your kids, going to a group exercise class, exercising in the Wellness Center, swimming in the pool, walking the track, using the hand sanitizer, climbing the rock wall, attending the March Meal Plan Series for National Nutrition Month. Participating in all of these activities will help to decrease your risk. Considering this disease killed 17.5 million people in 2012 and continues to kill more people globally per year than any other disease (according to the World Health Organization, updated in 2016), it’s worth it to do your part to control your risk factors.
Proverbs 4:38 says “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”. The writer of this proverb is not referring to participating in the physical activities the Y offers when he is saying to “guard your heart”. However, we cannot overlook the importance of strengthening this definition of heart when we are considering the improvement of the health of our heart. This “heart” is referring to the center of the human spirit – “from which spring emotions, thoughts, motivations, courage and actions” (Bible footnotes from Psalm 4:7).
Our hearts drive our actions (or inaction), our empathy (or lack of), our willingness (or reluctance) to help, our kindness (or anger), our gentleness (or harshness).
Working to strengthen your physical heart is a worthy task. Getting in your exercise minutes, eating your vegetables, managing your stress, washing your hands, not smoking – all of these actions will best equip you to strengthen your heart in order to serve those you love and serve the Lord Jesus with less risk of infection or disease.
But spending the same amount of time, if not MORE, on strengthening the heart the author of the Proverb was speaking about is also a worthy cause; it will help to decrease your risk of infection of the world and the devil’s manipulative lies and “hardening” against God and His love for you. God’s greatest expression of His love was in sending His Son, Jesus, to live life with a pure heart in your place, suffer and die on the cross, and rise again victoriously. God tells us in 1 Timothy 4:8, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” As a Y member, you have ample opportunity to participate in activities to strengthen this heart – the center of your human spirit. You can volunteer. We are hosting the Night to Shine event on Friday, February 10th. Click this link to find more about how to volunteer for this specific event: http://www.teambethesda.org/night-to-shine-2017/ . Another opportunity would be the Little Sweetheart Dance on Saturday, the 11th. Those options are just this week! http://www.ymcaatpabstfarms.org/volunteer/
There are many opportunities all year round to “guard your heart”. You can attend the Bible studies offered at the Y, seek out a mentor, or participate in the small group training, Solid Strength – a faith and fitness program. For more information on how to get connected to ways in which to guard your heart, contact Bruce Osborne (x145) or Kelly Wendorff (x112). We also have our annual auction coming up on Saturday, March 11th. You can donate to our cause to strengthen the hearts of our community, or you can attend and hear firsthand what impact the Y has on the health and heartbeat of our community. For more information on the auction, you can contact Heidi Hoeft (x122).
Happy Heart Health Month!
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