Embracing holistic hearts: Nurturing your heart for a balanced life with Navigate

  • Date posted

    Feb 01, 2024

  • Estimated reading time

    5 minutes

Improving our overall wellbeing has become more critical in today's fast-paced world. Navigate believes in a holistic approach that encompasses physical, mental, and social health, is key to achieving this. An aspect of a holistic approach is nurturing our hearts – not just the physical organ but the emotional and spiritual elements. Let's explore how you can cultivate a healthy heart, emotional wellbeing, and spiritual wellbeing by embracing a holistic approach.

Exercise for heart vitality

Maintaining a healthy heart is dependent on engaging in regular physical activity. According to experts, exercise is vital in controlling or modifying the risk factors associated with heart disease. Navigate offers personalized fitness plans and resources to help you find activities you enjoy, whether it's brisk walking, cycling, or yoga. Consistent exercise can help to lower blood pressure, decrease the chances of developing diabetes, maintain a healthy body weight, and reduce inflammation. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, additional benefits of exercise are:

  • Improves the muscles’ ability to pull oxygen out of the blood, reducing the need for the heart to pump more blood to the muscles
  • Reduces stress hormones that can put an extra burden on the heart
  • Works like a beta blocker to slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure
  • Increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and helps control triglycerides

Engaging in cardiovascular exercises, whether walking, running, or cycling, promotes circulation, strengthens the heart muscle, and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Let’s look at a holistic approach to your fitness routines. Incorporating practices like yoga, which combines physical postures with breathwork and mindfulness, adds a holistic aspect to your exercise regimen.

Several studies have demonstrated that individuals who engage in regular physical exercise can reduce the chances of a heart attack or other life-threatening cardiac events. Although exercise provides significant advantages, combining physical exercise with a healthy diet can assist in preventing heart disease.

Nutrition for heart wellbeing

Implementing a healthy diet is critical for a healthy heart. Beyond individual foods or nutrients, heart-healthy dietary patterns can significantly improve your cardiovascular health. Your diet can impact many elements of heart health, such as blood pressure, inflammation, cholesterol levels, and triglycerides.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends the following dietary guidelines for heart health:

  • Maintain a healthy body weight by keeping calories from food balanced with calories burned by exercising
  • Consume a wide variety of fruits and vegetables
  • Choose primarily whole grains instead of refined grains
  • Use liquid plant oils such as olive oil rather than tropical oils such as palm oil
  • Eat healthy sources of protein, such as from plants, seafood, or lean meats
  • Minimize added sugars and salt
  • Limit alcohol
  • Choose minimally processed foods

Try incorporating foods high in omega-3s, antioxidants, and fiber. Omega-3s can be found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts. Omega-3s reduce inflammation and promote a healthy cardiovascular system. Fruits and vegetables that contain antioxidants protect the heart against oxidative stress. Fiber can also assist in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.

Navigate's nutrition resources can guide you toward incorporating heart-healthy options. We partner with leading experts to curate evidence-based recommendations aligned with the American Heart Association guidelines. Additionally, our platform connects you with personalized meal planning tools and community support, making healthy eating more accessible and more sustainable. Integrating foods that promote heart health into your diet can offer a broad range of benefits for your heart.

Building meaningful relationships

Holistic health is about caring for the whole person, including the emotional aspect of our wellbeing. An aspect of emotional wellbeing is the quality of our relationships. Having strong social connections with friends, family, and the community can significantly improve our emotional health. 

Social connectedness affects our minds, bodies, and behaviors. Research indicates that being socially connected leads to better health, improved wellbeing, and longer life expectancy.  Navigate fosters community by providing opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals through workshops, support groups, and online forums.

Studies from the CDC have consistently shown that social support has a positive impact on heart health by providing us with a sense of belonging, support, and purpose. For example, people with strong social connections are less likely to experience heart attacks and strokes, and they tend to recover faster from heart-related illnesses. 

Social support can also help reduce stress, which is a significant risk factor for heart disease. Cultivate and nurture relationships by making time for family and friends, having meaningful conversations, and participating in community activities. Sometimes, the simplest things can significantly impact our health and wellbeing. For example, grabbing lunch with a coworker or calling a friend can do wonders for our happiness. Don't underestimate the value of any interactions, as they can add up and make a big difference in how we feel.

Mindfulness and meditation practices

Spiritual wellbeing is integral to holistic hearts, and mindfulness and meditation offer powerful tools for nurturing the soul. Navigate’s platform offers guided meditations, breathwork exercises, and journaling prompts to help you manage stress, improve emotional resilience, and find inner peace. Meditation supports your heart in many ways, from coping with stress and lowering blood pressure to impacting heart rates.

Harvard Health research has found that meditation can positively affect a measure of heart health known as heart rate variability (HRV). HRV reflects how quickly your heart makes small changes in the time interval between each heartbeat. A high HRV is a sign of a healthier heart.

In a world where constant demands can lead to burnout and stress, it has become essential to take time out for oneself. Practicing mindfulness through meditation, deep breathing exercises, and moments of quiet reflection can help reduce stress levels, promote emotional strength, and lead to a healthier heart.

Cultivating gratitude

Gratitude is a practice that involves being thankful for the positive things in our lives - both big and small. Anyone can embrace it. By cultivating a mindset of gratitude, we learn to appreciate and acknowledge the good things in our lives, even during difficult times. 

Expressing gratitude has many benefits that support heart health. By improving depression symptoms, sleep, diet, and exercise, the heart disease risk can be reduced. Several UCLA studies have shown that a grateful mindset can have a positive impact on biomarkers that are associated with the risk of heart disease.

Research from UCLA has also found that maintaining a gratitude journal can cause a drop in diastolic blood pressure, which is the force that your heart exerts between beats. If you don’t journal, even thinking grateful thoughts can also help your heart by slowing and regulating your breathing to synchronize it with your heartbeat.

Embrace a holistic approach

Embracing a comprehensive holistic approach to wellbeing involves recognizing that proper health goes beyond physical fitness. Individuals can foster a healthy heart and emotional and spiritual wellbeing with this approach. By nurturing our holistic selves, we find a path to a more fulfilling and meaningful life where the heartbeat rings with strength and inner peace.

Want to collaborate? Have a topic you'd like to learn about?