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Nothing Beats (like) a Healthy Heart

Nothing Beats (like) a Healthy Heart

By Jody Long, MS, RDN, CDCES
MWHC Outpatient Diabetes and Nutrition Management Services

Ah, February! Matters of the heart abound throughout this month which aims to raise awareness about reducing risk factors of cardiovascular disease and inspires all of us to take charge of our heart health.

The heart image most of us conjure up looks like the one below.

However, a better depiction of our heart (and how it functions) are the ones our cardiovascular team is holding.

Knowing the vital role our heart plays in our livelihoods helps resonate the importance of keeping it healthy. Many of the messages this month pivot around staying active.

Staying Active

Simply put, increasing intentional physical activity daily adds to your life’s quality and longevity. An active heart is a healthy heart. Check out these resources full of information, exercise, and activity ideas.

Active People, Healthy Nation (FREE)

is an initiative to help 27 million Americans become more physically active by 2027. They offer physical activity basic recommendations for various people including children, pregnant and postpartum women, adults, older adults, and adults with chronic health conditions and disabilities. They also offer updates and resources via a monthly newsletter.

Move Your Way (FREE)

offers great videos for indoor activities for kids and families too as well as an interactive planning tool. If you are stumped on starting exercise or at a loss for ideas, there’s something here for you.


Options abound for physical activity with the Rappahannock Area YMCA. There are four locations in the area and no additonal joining fees or contracts.

My Y is the Caroline Family YMCA where I am a cycle instructor and enjoy class offerings. How many of you set fitness goals at the beginning of the year? I did. Mine is to explore more exercise options. So, I took the plunge and jumped into a couple of Aqua Cardio classes. Gotta give a shout out to Caroline Aqua Cardio Exercise Class with Karen, WOW, what a fun and heart pumping class! It’s designed to promote joint flexibility, range of motion and agility while building cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength. If you have any issues in your tissues, I highly recommend you check out the Aquatic Programs offered at each of our local YMCA facilities.

Walk with a Doc (FREE)

Who isn’t ready for spring? With the weather hopefully changing for the better soon, a lot of folks are going to start heading outside for walking exercise. Here’s a FREE program to make that even more exciting. Started by Ohio cardiologist Dr. David Sabgir, Walk with a Doc has grown and is now a global entity worldwide. This month they are celebrating Heart Month with an adventure. Join them for two weeks of movement (any kind) and heart healthy foods while ‘traveling’ through the Hawaiian islands. Click here to learn more and register

There is a Richmond VA chapter of Walk with a Doc offering walks with endocrinologist Anita Prakash, MD, happening every other Saturday at 9:00 a.m. starting at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. For more schedule information email:

MWHC Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support Services

Coming soon: stay tuned for a local Fredericksburg, VA walking group opportunity created by our own diabetes educator Courtney Wilkerson.

American Heart Association (FREE)

As a healthcare provider, I often hear how exercise is hard, especially during the cold winter months and during this era of COVID-19. The American Heart Association has done an excellent job focusing on fitness. Their website has information on fitness basics, getting active, staying motivated, and more!

Worth checking out: 55 different home workout videos with a variety of exercise types, intensities, and time lengths. Move More Together At Home Workouts.

Fiton workout app (FREE)

If you like using apps, I am a big fan of the FREE Fiton app for exercising. I’ve been using this several times weekly for the last two years. Its digital platform offers unlimited free classes with everything from meditation and yoga to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and strength training. Live streaming classes are offered throughout the day as well as a constantly growing selection of on-demand choices. You can customize your choice by the length of time and intensity level as well. The instructors are engaging and motivating and are never boring.

Adding more activity to your life is a key to overall health, well-being, and a healthy heart. So, show your heart some LOVE this February by checking out any of these great resources and making an effort to move more every day.