Listening to our hearts

February 27th, 2016

Listen to your heart and it will tell you what it wants in matters of love, family and profession.  Listen closer and you’ll learn that it needs exercise, healthy foods, and stress control to thrive. Nurture your heart and it will power your body for years.  Renew your Heart Health awareness. Create a heart healthy plan.  Care for the needs of your heart— our life giving and most important muscle.

heart beatSupport your heart with exercise.  Running or playing sports are natural supports for the heart but walking, gardening, and dancing also provide great exercises. Stretch out with Yoga, Pilates, or Enhance Fitness programs and give the heart muscle a well rounded workout. Need some company to get started? Seattle Parks and Recreation sponsors walking programs throughout the city and lots of fun fitness oriented classes for all ages scheduled throughout the day. Short on time? build an exercise program at work or home. Take the stairs, carry your own grocery bags, park a block away from your destination but whatever you decide to do get intentional about exercising.

fruitFeed your heart’s desire. Give it fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats.  Heart healthy foods are satisfying and they nourish a steady beat.  Add red wine and a desert dark chocolate? Yes! Toss out the fast food and bring on the tossed salads and home cooking. Need some guidance? Stop into Heart Healthy Cooking African American style, or Healthy Latino Recipies or check out the American Heart Association’s Fabulous Series on Heart Healthy foods. Need some help? With A Little Help caregivers shop, cook, support exercising, provide transportation, and offer companionship that reduces stress. Explore our licensed home care services.

5NumbersInfographicWondering how healthy your heart is right now? Visit the Mayo Clinic’s heart disease risk calculator. Check out the World Heart Federation’s  heart age calculator. Visit your doctor, a free or sliding scale clinic in the Seattle, or many local pharmacies to learn your blood pressure numbers. The Central Area Senior Center sponsors weekly Blood Pressure clinics Wednesdays 11:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. and Ballard Senior Center presents free Wellness Clinics every third Tuesday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

It’s normal to feel like you need to do a lot of things to be heart healthy but it’s equally important not to do things. As the American Psychological Association writes, “…your thoughts, attitudes and emotions…[can] not only accelerate the onset of heart disease, but also get in the way of taking positive steps to improve your health…” So, Relax. Take care of your mental balance and disarm your stress.

Like any good relationship in your life the one with your heart needs care and maintenance.  Start planning a heart healthy path today.


Go4Life: Start Up or Improve Your Exercise Routine

September 3rd, 2015

marathon-runners-1024x681Do you run? Walk? Bicycle? If you do, you’re part of the reason that Seattle consistently ranks in the top ten fittest cities. If you need some motivation to join the crowd the National Institute on Aging has launched an annual program called Go 4 Life. Go 4 Life promotes physical activity to improve quality of life for older adults. This isn’t just about urging couch potatoes to move this is a drive to bring exercise to everyone whether you have arthritis, live with dementia, suffer depression, experience low vision, or just feel too busy. Tap into the movement and improve your health— it’s Go 4 Life month! Read the rest of this entry »

Boost Your Energy and Immunity with Laughter Yoga

August 11th, 2015

Laughing at Ida Culver

Laughing at Ida Culver

You may have noticed, on our calendar, that Ballard Senior Center features a free class in Laughter Yoga (LY) every Thursday. Maybe you’ve encountered Laughter Yoga in one of Seattle’s assisted living settings,  in a corporate context, on the curriculum at Bastyr University, Bellevue college or the campus of University of Washington. Laughter Yoga is embraced and offered in many venues because it’s fun and healing and you don’t have to be in a good mood to reap its benefits! Find relaxation, improve your blood pressure, boost your immune system, and reduce stress while you laugh. LY exercises are suitable for all ages and require no equipment… just you, your stamina, and your willingness to try it.

laughter at the hub

Verde and class at TheHub

Laughter Yoga is fun and playful yet, as Teresa Verde, a pioneer, of Laughter Yoga in Seattle and Certified Laughter teacher since 2001, explains, “This is a vigorous exercise. It is basically a “laughter workout.” Is Laughter Yoga good for elders? I asked. Yes. Laughter increases energy by oxygenating the system and triggering the “happiness factor.”  Keys to a positive experience? Being open to new things, having some level of stamina, and participating in a group that embraces the idea.  Caregivers? Laughter Yoga is also good for you. It relieves stress, can be practiced in the moment, and promotes wellness. Read the rest of this entry »

Celebrate Your Heart In February And Year Round

February 5th, 2015

In February we celebrate our hearts and sweethearts! We all know Valentines day and, increasingly, word is getting out about National Wear Red Day for Women on the 6th. In fact the whole month is devoted to lifting awareness about our hearts. Our discussions about: heart health, heart-felt feelings, heart healthy foods, and heart risks this month are all about the actions we need to take in life to balance the needs of our hearts with the demands of our day. Whether it’s remembering the roses or picking up heart healthy foods for dinner February reminds us to nurture everything that makes our heart beat.

Why is an entire month devoted to lifting awareness about heart health and heart risks? Because stroke and heart attack is the number one killer of American men and women. More people are dying of heart disease today than of all types of cancer. 1 in 4 people die from heart disease every year and over half a million will experience their first heart attack by year’s end.  That’s why the Million Hearts Initiative was launched in 2011 with a goal to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. But the fact is that neither government initiatives nor your doctor can prevent heart disease. Your heart and your life choices are yours. In the video below a 55 year old woman explains how she realized the connection between her life problems and the care of her heart and decided to make a change.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lower Your Risk of Memory Loss Through Brain Fitness

August 1st, 2014

Dementia strikes an alarming number of people in King County. According to a King 5 report, in late 2012, over 150,000 people locally have Alzheimers or Dementia. King County’s population was just over 2 million in 2013. That’s an incidence of approximately 1 in 7 which is why most of us know someone who has dementia or someone who worries about memory loss. Medicine is still trying to understand how to delay, halt or predict dementia. We can’t cure it but we may be able to reduce our risk up to  50% by taking physical and mental steps toward more robust health. Read the rest of this entry »

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