Think February and little red hearts may come to your mind. February is known as the month of love and romance, matters of the heart, and Valentine’s Day dates back to the middle ages. In addition,according to the American Heart Association congress designated the month of February Heart Health Month in 1963. February is the month of the heart.
Since 1963, much medical and scientific research has documented heart healthy behaviors to keep this vital organ functioning effectively. It appears that even 15-30 minutes of daily physical exercises is of good benefit to the heart. Add to that a healthy diet including a variety of fruits and vegetables, adequate water intake (at least 1/2 your weight in ounces) and outlets to cut stress you will reduce your risk for heart disease. If you smoke, please quit. Not just your heart will be healthier but your whole body, and those that love you will thank you.
You may already have known all I have just stated. Do you also know that medical literature is also full of studies indicating the link between spirituality and heart health? Look for your self. I went to PubMed.com and put in spirituality and heart health as my search. It resulted in 121 studies.
In one article I read, psychiatrist Karl Menninger was quoted from a book wrote in 1930 titled, The Human Mind. He states, “Love is the basic need of human nature, for without it life is disrupted emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically.” His advice for when feelings of anxiety and depression come upon you is to find someone in need and do something to help that person. Receiving love and giving love is healing on both ends. That advice continues to seem very accurate and relevant today.
Dale Fletcher, founder of the Faith and Health Connection , states “A growing body of scientific research indicates there’s a connection between spirituality/religion and health. To say that practicing a particular faith or involvement in certain religious practices will have an impact on one’s well being and health is oversimplifying things. The connection exists when people develop the type of qualities that come from knowing God and experiencing His love and in living in a way that God, the Great Physician, prescribes.
Yes, there’s a spirituality/religion and health connection. It occurs when individuals, regardless of their faith, incorporate powerful biblical truths into their lives. Forgiving, loving others, believing, worshiping in community, prayer and meditation are just a few tenants of the Christian faith that, if practiced by anyone, seem to have a positive impact on quality of life and health.”
The Message translation says it well. “Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart.” 1 Timothy 4:7-8
February is the month to “take it to HEART”. I encourage you to exercise for your heart health, in physical and spiritual ways. We are created with a heart, mind, body and soul. Each part supporting the other to make us whole.