In my book The StayAhead Method, I describe the seven foundations of fitness, which are essential for keeping the body and mind fit and functional for the years ahead. One of the foundations is cardiorespiratory function. Some people love active, sweaty exercise. Others avoid it at all costs. However, it doesn’t matter whether you like it or not. Your heart and lungs need stimulation to remain healthy and functional for the years ahead.

Stagnation calls to the aging process and hurries it along. That’s not what we’re looking for. In my book, I’ll share ideas for how you can provide your heart and lungs with the right amount of stimulation. Not too little. Not too much. The moderate approach always works best when you’re looking for long-term results.

It wasn’t until a few centuries ago that we started to figure out the role our hearts play in health. Around the year 1600, William Harvey made a remarkable discovery: the heart is responsible for circulation of blood throughout the body. Gerald Freiland writes that Harvey’s discovery may have been the greatest medical discovery of all time because it initiated the field of physiology, and it also introduced the principle of experimentation in medicine.

Now we know so much more. A quick Google search tells us that if you took all the blood vessels out of an average adult and laid them out in one line, the line would stretch over 100,000 miles Woah! There are three kinds of blood vessels: arteries, veins, and capillaries. Each of these play a specific role in the circulation process. Arteries carry oxygenated blood away from the heart. Capillaries connect the arteries to veins. Veins carry blood back to the heart. What at the center of all this circulation? The amazing heart. It’s the greatest pump ever created and it serves us well for many decades of life.

But is the heart just a pump? What about those times when your heart is broken over a friend’s death or overjoyed with new love. Our hearts ache when something sad happens. When we’re happy, we feel it in our heart, not our head. Don’t we feel ALL of these things in our hearts? Yes! Our hearts have profound emotional intelligence.

Since the discovery of heart-as-pump, we’ve come to understand that our hearts are directly connected to our emotions and the functioning of the nervous system. According to the HeartMath Institute, Coherence is a measure of the pattern in the heart’s rhythm, which… reflects an orderly and harmonious synchronization among various systems in the body such as the heart, respiratory system, and blood-pressure rhythms.

When you’re happy, focused, and enjoying your day, your heart is coherent, which means that it’s in rhythm and it’s functioning smoothly. On the other hand, when you’re anxious, worried, or angry, heart rhythm changes from smooth pulsing to jagged, disordered and incoherent.

Which graph do you think your heart would prefer: frustration or appreciation?!

Research by the HeartMath Institute demonstrates the physiological differences in heart function between negative and positive emotions. Go here for a cool video from the HeartMath Institute.

While keeping the heart and lungs healthy with movement is essential, you can further increase the health and longevity of your heart by making sure it’s in coherence as often as possible. When the heart is coherent, there is less strain and wear. Your heart will last longer and you’ll have a happier life!

In my online membership program (goes live October 20th), I’ll offer relaxation audios that guide you to bring your heart into coherence. But you also can do it right now by doing this simple exercise for heart health

  1. Lie on the floor in a comfortable position. Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart. Close your eyes.
  2. Become aware of your breathing and feel your hands moving gently with the pulsation of your breath.
  3. After two minutes of breath awareness, take your attention into your heart. Ask your heart to S-L-O-W down. Feel or imagine your heart being in a gentle, smooth state of rhythm. Imagine light surrounding your heart.

It’s surprising to learn that lying down and being still is a cardio exercise! Now that you’ve done this simple exercise, how do you feel? Amazing? I know! Me too! It’s incredible to take a few minutes to bring your heart into coherence. When you do, you love yourself, which is the ultimate key to a happy life!



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