The importance of a heart healthy lifestyle.
February is Heart Health Month. Heart disease is a big deal to me. Two significant experiences shaped my life and the importance of a heart healthy lifestyle to me.
When I was 8-years-old, my mother had her first heart attack, she was just 36 years old. Our little family was on vacation at Huntington Lake and I awoke to my mom sitting on the side of her bed having trouble breathing. As we loaded up the car and headed back to Bakersfield, I heard my mom and dad say it was probably just indigestion. We drove directly to the hospital, because by then she was having chest pains. From that time on life as I knew it changed. “Shortness of breath”, nitroglycerin, trips to the hospital, and Doctor’s appointments dominated our family’s time and energy. My mother had three heart surgeries. Even the infamous Dr. Michael DeBakey in Houston performed one of her heart surgeries. Unfortunately, at the age of just 52 my mother passed away.
At the time of my mother’s passing Tom and I had only been married a year. Then suddenly at the young age of 45, Tom had to have a heart valve replaced. We found out later it was due to a heart defect he was born with and until then, unaware of.
An Active Lifestyle
These experiences made me acutely aware of the importance of heart health. Healthy living is the best way to avoid heart disease. One habit Tom and I have incorporated into our lives for our heart health is Pickleball.
Pickleball is low impact and a great cardiovascular workout. Tom and I play several times a week, and have been able to play in different cities and states when we travel. It is easy to learn, and quick to pick up thanks to the inclusive social atmosphere. We have been able to meet and make friends with a diverse group of people and maintain a healthy active lifestyle.
There are many things you can do to maintain your heart health, among them staying active is essential. You only get one body, take care of it. February is the perfect time to begin a new healthy lifestyle. If you want to take up Pickleball and live in Bakersfield check out Places to Play, stop by and make some new friends which is always good for your heart.
For more information on heart health, events and activities to get involved with this month please visit our friends at American Heart Association-Kern County.
Memories from the 2nd annual Pickleball Palooza in 2019.