One of the things we see with our clients quite a bit is their worry about heart health; a parent or family member has experienced a heart attack or stroke and there is a fear that the same will happen to them. Through our four pillars, we can create in effect “medicines” to take care of your ticker- and ensure it continues going strong for the rest of your life.

Heart disease is the #1 killer of men and women worldwide. If that’s not enough of a reason for heart health to count then I don’t know what is! But it doesn’t have to be complicated to take care of our hearts and we have plenty of ways that you can!

We hear a lot about matters of the heart in the music we listen to and the movies we watch. While much of that isn’t intentionally about heart health, interestingly enough, there’s a lot to say regarding our emotional health and how showing our physical hearts a little love can help. Here are things we recommend and do with our clients in order to save their hearts.

Functional Training

For most people, having a resting heart rate that falls in the 60-100 beats per minute (bpm) range is considered “normal.” Are you athletic? Enjoy a 46-60 bpm resting heart rate! When you’re exercising or exerting energy, naturally, your heart rate will increase. When we think of a high heart rate we often relate that to stress or anxiety but it’s actually not such a bad thing- getting your heart rate up is important! Over time, this trains your body to move oxygen and blood to your muscles efficiently when you’re working out. 

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the most impactful physical effort you can make to improve your heart rate. This training technique means you alternate between giving your all through an intense bout of exercise for about one minute to get your heart rate up (aiming for 150-170bpm) followed by a short recovery period where the heart rate drops 30-40 beats for that minute. Then we repeat. A key indicator of health, endurance, and overall fitness is how fast your heart rate can go from high to low, also known as your heart rate variability or heart rate recovery. Ideally, we want the heart to recover quickly. 

Think of a soccer or hockey player. They need that burst of energy to chase down the ball or puck and then there are times where they can slow down their pace or take a break until their next shift but it’s really important for them to have that quick spurt and perform at a high heart rate for a short amount of time and then recover while they rest. When someone is not “fit” it means that they need to rest for a long time in between those bursts of activity.

Nutrition

According to our EPIC Life Formula, we recommend four cups of healthy fats, fibres, and greens per day- and guess what? These are all good things for your heart! Healthy fats like chickpeas, avocado, salmon, and olive oil actually reduce the risk of heart disease. Polyunsaturated fats (still the good kind, stick with me) are actually required for normal body functions, like muscle movement and blood clotting, but your body can’t actually produce them so your only choice is to get them from food. Fibre is usually associated with being, er, “regular” but that’s not all it’s good for! Fibre is also credited with lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and protecting against strokes and diabetes, both of which are tied to an increased risk of heart disease. Leafy greens are great for the heart as they also contain fibre and Vitamin K. Recent studies are looking into the link between Vitamin K and heart health as some think that insufficient levels of this vitamin may actually negatively affect the structure of the heart itself!

I previously mentioned olive oil as an example of a healthy fat- and it more often than not is. What we have to be careful of are fried oils. When oils are fried they become rancid and are, in effect, poisonous to the body. Of course, we know to avoid this when we are eating out but even when cooking at home it is easy to slip up. For example, we don’t want to use olive oil when we are cooking at high temperatures or it can go rancid. It’s better to use something with a more sturdy molecular make-up like grapeseed or coconut oil.

One of the easiest ways to make sure you’re meeting the four cups/day quota? Throw everything into a smoothie! Spinach, chia seeds, flaxseeds, turmeric, and pomegranate are all super easy to include in your favourite smoothie (or if you need more inspo, swing by our Basecamp Cafe!). Our Life Shop also features Brain Octane oil which is undetectable in smoothies (or coffee!), boosts your cognitive function, and is full of quality fats that don’t weigh you down!

Nature

High blood pressure is hard on the heart. It can affect the arteries that supply blood to the heart, narrowing them so blood doesn’t flow as freely. It can also force your heart to work harder pumping blood out to the rest of the body. But we can combat high blood pressure through the simplest means: spending time in nature!

Forest Bathing is an activity we love to practice and share with our community. Research shows how visiting a forest or green space has real quantifiable health benefits. Spending time in nature truly does heal us, reducing stress-related hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, and lowering blood pressure. Forest Bathing or Shinrin-yoku was developed in the 1980s in Japan and has been the reason their population has excelled in overcoming the ailments of stress. In our Forest Bathing sessions, we learn about the forest and the elements which make the forest so soothing and healing.

The calming power of the forest is undeniable and is proven to deliver lasting benefits for your overall wellbeing. Not only does it lower your blood pressure, protecting your heart but it boosts your immune system and actually helps you recover faster from illness or trauma!

Self-care

Cardiovascular disease is often attributed to poor diet or lack of exercising but we sometimes forget that self care is rooted in self LOVE which requires us to open up our heart! A good signal to the brain and our emotions is to actually open up the heart physically.

Taking part in a morning stretch is a great way to start, I do heart openers every morning. Not only is it anatomically the opposite of the seated position but the movements prepare us for the day ahead, allowing us to receive the day and create an element of openness. I lead a morning stretch on my Instagram story almost every morning- it’s can be as easy as following along to that!

Focusing on our own self-love or self-acceptance is also a way to limit stress placed on the heart. We learn from a young age how to put ourselves down and that can be absolutely crippling. Not only are you an AMAZING person but you are strong and you DESERVE to shower yourself with love. Dove’s Self Esteem Project released that six out of 10 girls around the world admit to avoiding an everyday activity because they were worried about their appearance and a Psychcentral study showed that about 20% of teens will experience depression before hitting adulthood. With self-love and self-esteem being a relatively newer area of study, we can only imagine what results would have been like 20 or 30 years ago- and where we might be today if mental health had been more of a factor back then. More recent studies are showing how cultivating compassion in a company, starting from the CEO, actually pays off in the long-run and can be a key factor in determining the longevity or long-term value of a company.

We benefit mentally and physically when we open up our hearts and practice self-care. Take time to quiet the mind and relax your body with yoga or meditation, keep positive energy around you, schedule “me time” into your day where you can do something you love like reading or journaling and remember to show compassion for yourself


Ready to put a little love in your heart? :) You can sign up for yoga, meditation, or HIIT classes here to save your heart physically, emotionally. Open your heart spiritually, and lower the stress on the heart by joining us on our next hike here


Ready for an immersive, intensive experience that will accelerate, heal and challenge you? Learn about and book our next retreat here.