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A Wake-Up Call: My Mother's Heart Attack and the Vitality of Yoga and Wellness in Aging

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

As we age, the importance of wellness becomes increasingly evident. This lesson hit home for me when my mother had a massive heart attack while I was visiting my family in Canada just two weeks ago. We were celebrating her eighty-first birthday. What made this experience particularly poignant was that my mother has dementia, a condition that adds an extra layer of complexity to health concerns.

The Unseen Risk Factors

One of the crucial lessons we learned was that heart attacks can strike anyone, regardless of their outward appearance of health. My mother's heart attack was attributed to factors that weren't immediately visible. High levels of stress caused by dementia, a genetic predisposition, and the natural aging process had all played a role in her condition. In some cases, dementia can affect an individual's ability to perceive pain or discomfort. This reduced sensitivity might mask signs of stress or physical distress, making it challenging to recognize heart attack symptoms.

My mother's heart attack was a stark reminder that we're not invincible. Yoga and wellness practices have the potential to play a vital role in preventing neurological and heart diseases as we age.

Here are two key reasons why these practices are beneficial:

  1. Stress Reduction: Chronic stress is a significant risk factor for both neurological and heart diseases. As we age, stressors like retirement, loss of loved ones, or health concerns can accumulate. Yoga and wellness practices, including meditation, deep breathing, and mindfulness, are highly effective in reducing stress. These practices calm the nervous system, lower levels of stress hormones, and promote a sense of inner peace. By managing stress, we can protect our hearts and reduce the risk of neurological conditions like Alzheimer's disease.

  1. Physical Fitness and Heart Health: Regular engagement in yoga and wellness activities can contribute to better physical fitness. Yoga combines stretching, strength-building, and balance exercises, all of which are important for maintaining overall health. Physical fitness is directly related to heart health. Engaging in regular physical activity helps to improve cardiovascular function, reduce blood pressure, and manage weight—all of which lower the risk of heart disease. Additionally, many yoga poses and practices emphasize deep, rhythmic breathing, which can enhance lung and heart health.

The benefits of yoga often become more evident with time and consistent practice. Whether you're looking for physical fitness, stress relief, or greater inner peace, yoga can be a transformative journey that brings many rewards. So, roll out your mat, take a deep breath, and start your yoga journey today.

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