Tara Richardson, MS is an ACSM-certified exercise physiologist at Aspen Valley Hospital’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Department. She enjoys instilling lifelong healthy habits in her patients. Tara is pictured above on a recent outing with some of her Oncology Rehabilitation patients.
It’s World Heart Day and there is no better time to make some small changes to your healthy journey!
While exercise is an important aspect of your cardiac health and a path to healthy aging, it is equally important to address the entire individual in order to live a full, relaxed and balanced life.
Today, on World Heart Day we have some simple reminders of heart-nurturing actions you can begin right now.
- Stay connected – Call a friend or FaceTime a loved one, especially if you are going through a rough patch. These connections can lower stress levels and return you to a feeling of calm.
- Get outside – We live in a beautiful place! There are outdoor options for EVERYBODY, every day of the year. A little dose of fresh air and sunshine makes everything seem more manageable.
- Take time to breathe – Practice being still, observe nature, play with a dog, listen to music or giggle with a baby. Find something that pulls you entirely into the present moment and enjoy doing just that.
- Add a new fruit to your diet – We have wonderful varieties of fruits in our grocery stores and farmer’s markets throughout the valley. Choose healthy sugars from whole fruits while benefiting from a natural serving of fiber.
- Explore autumn vegetables – Winter squashes are full of healthy fiber and they’re a heart-smart way to satisfy the craving for starchier foods as we head in to winter. See the recipe below for a quick start to winter squash.
- Keep moving – Walk the dog, e-bike with a friend, sign up for a 5K fundraiser, tackle a new mountain bike trail, walk along the river, hike in the autumn colors, challenge your balance, commit to a core strengthening routine (ski season is upon us!) or incorporate more consistent stretching in your daily routine.
- Stay motivated – Create a healthy habits support group. Asking your friends to join you on a walk or to commit to a new heart-healthy activity together helps both of you stick to a plan.
We can get you started.
Sometimes we all need a little help to get back on the right path. Cardiac Rehabilitation is available at both our Aspen Valley Hospital campus and our After-Hours Medical Care clinic location in Basalt. Both locations have a full complement of exercise equipment and state-of-the-art cardiac monitoring capabilities. Our one-hour classes meet on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and provide the coaching, camaraderie and encouragement you may need to progress in your goals.
Contact Jeanne B Stough, MS, EP, Cardiac Rehabilitation Manager at 970.544.1119 to learn how you can turn your resolutions into reality.
Jeanne’s Easy-peasy Delicata Squash
“When I’m pressed for time, I go for Delicata squash, they are smaller and more thin-skinned than other winter squashes which makes them easier to cut, quicker to cook. This recipe is a nice side dish and is great cold the next day,” says Jeanne Stough, MS, EP Cardiac Rehabilitation Manager at Aspen Valley Hospital. “The whole process takes about 30 minutes, and most of that is cooking time!”
3-4 Delicata squash
Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.
Cut the squash in half and de-seed, then cut into ½ inch slices.
Zest the lemon and put aside for later.
Juice the lemon and set aside.
Toss the squash with olive oil, pepper and fresh lemon juice.
Spread the squash out on a baking sheet and cover with foil so they don’t dry out.
Place on the bottom rack of your oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, then check to see that the squash pieces are cooked through and tender.
Remove the foil — the sugars and starches will be on the surface of the squash. Brush them with olive oil and bake another 5-10 minutes to caramelize the tops. Flip over, brush with olive oil and add the zest of the lemon to add a bit of sweetness.
When the other side is golden brown, remove and enjoy!