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February 2023

Happy American Heart Healthy Month!

Why do we observe American Heart Month every February? Well, every year more than 600,000 Americans die from heart disease. The number one cause of deaths for most groups, heart disease affects all ages, genders, and ethnicities. Risk factors include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, and excessive alcohol use.

Do you know how to keep your heart healthy? You can take an active role in reducing your risk for heart disease by eating a healthy diet, engaging in physical activity, and managing your cholesterol and blood pressure. This is a great chance to start some heart-healthy habits!


The human heart is responsible for pumping blood throughout our body, supplying oxygen and nutrients and removing toxins and waste. Weighing between 8 and 12 ounces, the heart is a mighty organ divided into four chambers that work together to pump blood in and out. The heart gets oxygenated blood from the lungs and pumps it throughout the rest of the body. It does this by contracting at a rhythmic pace, about 60-80 times per minute, thanks to electrical cells called “pacemakers.” When the heart ceases to perform its regular function, a medical device also called a pacemaker can be implanted to assist the heart.

Heart disease occurs when the arteries leading to the heart become clogged. Although heart disease has been around for thousands of years, we do know that many aspects of modern life exacerbate risk factors and make people more prone to heart disease and heart failure. Today, one in four deaths in the U.S. is attributable to heart disease. Heart disease can affect everyone, but taking stock of your prior health risks, activities and diet can help you reduce your risk.

Although we’ve learned a lot about how the heart works, there are still many unanswered questions about heart health and the cardiovascular system. As far as we know, the best way to protect your heart is to stay active, eat a healthy and balanced diet, and reduce your daily stress. To celebrate American Heart Month, take some time to learn about heart health risks, find your favorite heart-healthy activities, and cook some healthy meals with your family.


  1. Take up a heart-healthy habitStaying active, eating healthy, and watching our weight are all important parts of maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. Pick a new heart-healthy habit like jogging or substituting sodas with water and try to stick to it for a whole month.

  2. Educate yourselfLearn about the risk factors for heart disease, the ways you can prevent them, and the lifestyle choices that can help you stay healthy.

  3. Get your cholesterol testedIf you’re worried you might be at risk for heart disease, ask your doctor to perform a simple cholesterol test to let you know if you’re at risk and should make adjustments to your diet.


  1. Heart attacks can be silent One in five heart attacks occur without the person even knowing they had one.

  2. Heart attacks affect women differently Women may experience different symptoms than men. These include pain in the back, arm, neck, or shoulder; nausea; fatigue; shortness of breath; and vomiting.

  3. Young women are at higher risk than men Women under the age of 50 are twice as likely to die of a heart attack as men in the same age group.

  4. Another reason to hate MondaysHeart attacks are more likely to occur on Monday mornings than other days of the week. Scientists attribute this to the disruption in our circadian rhythm over the weekend which leads to increased blood pressure and other changes to the nervous system.

  5. Diet soda raises heart attack riskIf you drink one or more diet sodas a day, your chances of having a heart attack are 43% higher than those who drink regular soda or none at all.


Ways Pilates Can Help with the Health of Your Heart!!!

Have you tried Pilates? This incredibly beneficial movement can be done on the floor or on reformer machines. Either way you prefer it, pilates can provide benefits specifically to the health of your blood and your heart to help reduce cardiac risk and help you thrive! Here are 5 awesome ways this fun exercise will help get your blood pumping!

  1. Pilates helps lift your spirits, reduces mental stress, and improves your life! During cardio workouts, most people put on their headphones and jam, watch TV on the treadmill, and completely tune-out what they’re doing with their body. Pilates, on the other hand, helps improve your focus to pay attention to what’s going on INSIDE the body during your workouts, so you can take good care of yourself! Do this enough, and regardless of external stimulus, you will always make smart choices to stay safe and healthy.

2) Pilates connects mind, body, and movement to help boost confidence, and learn to trust AND listen to how your body feels. By paying closer attention to what you’re doing when you move, how you move, what you’re using to move, and how you feel, it becomes easier to adjust, and pace your workouts to stay safe, healthy, and injury-free.

3) Pilates is a system to MOVE well for better health. Pilates isn’t just a bunch of exercises done on a mat or machines for a “workout.” Your ultimate goal is to take what you learn with Pilates out the door into your daily life activities, and other fitness workouts.

4) Pilates improves core support. Which is much more involved than just working your abs. Effective use of your core helps stabilize the pelvis floor, improves gait, strengthens the back, takes the stress off hips, knees, and feet, helps shoulder mechanics, and supports healthy movement habits.

5)Pilates posterior-lateral breathing improves breath control. Pilates breathing helps you get more nourishing oxygen INTO your body, and more waste out. Better breathing habits makes it easier to enjoy cardio training plus you will get better benefits from your efforts.

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Agile Physical Therapy is Wishing you Happy Valentines Day!!!!!


Tuscan Chicken Pasta – One Pot!


  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 large boneless skinless chicken breast, equal to 1 lb.

  • 3 teaspoons Italian seasoning

  • Salt/Pepper, to taste

  • 1 tablespoon salted butter

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • ¼ cup dry white wine, see notes

  • 1 tablespoon tomato Paste

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes, optional

  • 2 cups chicken broth

  • 1 ¼ cups half and half, (half cream/half milk)

  • 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, drained and chopped

  • ½ lb. pasta, any kind. I used pappardelle

  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

  • ¼ cup Romano cheese, grated

  • 2 cups spinach


Season and sear the chicken:

  • Slice the chicken into 3 thinner slices and pat completely dry. Season each side with Italian seasoning and salt/pepper.

  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sear on each side for 4-5 minutes, until a golden brown crust has developed. Set aside once cooked through. Remove any leftover oil but keep the brown remnants in the pot. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, then cut into bite-sized pieces. Add any juice from the chicken plate to the pot.

Prepare the sauce and cook the pasta in it:

  • Melt butter over medium heat. Add the garlic, wine, tomato paste, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Use a silicone spatula to “clean” the bottom and sides of the pan to incorporate more flavor into the sauce. Cook until thickened and reduced by half, 3-4 minutes.

  • Add the chicken broth. Slowly stir in the half and half. Add the sundried tomatoes and bring to a gentle boil. Add the pasta and submerge it into the liquid. Let it come to a boil again and cook according to package instructions. Stir a few times throughout cooking to ensure pasta doesn't stick to the bottom. Taste test a noodle for doneness before proceeding.

  • Reduce heat to low. Slowly sprinkle in the cheese and stir to incorporate until smooth.

Finish the Meal:

  • Add the chicken and spinach and stir to combine. Heat 1-2 minutes, until chicken is heated and spinach is wilted. Serve!

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