February 2018 E-Newsletter

Monday, February 19, 2018

Have you ever heard of the 'head-heart connection'? There is growing research that stress, a factor of poor mental health, could be an additional risk factor for heart disease. In Continuum's February 2018 newsletter, for Heart Health Month, we share tips, workouts and a meditation that will keep your heart, body, and mind in great condition.

In This Issue

Kelly's Weight Loss Tips for a Healthy Heart // Heart-Healthy Workout
Loving-Kindness Meditation // Continuum Updates

Kelly's Weight Loss Tips for a Healthy Heart

Kelly’s issues with weight are very common amongst those with mental illness due to a combination of medication-related increases in appetite – “I blew up like a balloon” – and the poor lifestyle choices often connected to mental illness.

A worsening of her depression, inability to focus or walk without pain, and learning she is pre-diabetic made Kelly’s mind up. “I quit cold turkey,” she says of her soda, bread and rice, red meat and pre-made/frozen foods. Now, she’s all about water, healthy carbs like chickpeas and kidney beans, and lean proteins like chicken.

Two weeks later she is 12 pounds lighter, less depressed and clear-headed, more physically active, and dedicated to her goal of losing serious double-digit levels weight loss within 6 months. She has also significantly lessened her chances of having heart disease. (Right, Kelly demonstrates the standard meal portion for meat.)

Here are some of Kelly’s heart-healthy weight loss tips:

Animal products contain cholesterol. Too much cholesterol in your blood increases your chance of getting heart disease.

Improper digestion can lead to inflammation in the gut and having inflammatory agents in the bloodstream can affect healthy blood flow to the heart. 

Dehydration leads to higher sodium levels in your bloodstream which increases blood pressure.  High in fiber and protein, chickpeas and kidney beans can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure and help you maintain a healthy weight.

Heart-Healthy Workout

Working at desk all day -- as many of us do -- increases your risk for high blood pressure (hypertension), known as the silent killer. The less you get your heart pumping and working throughout the day, the less it'll be effective at doing its job over time. Below, Shelley, our Director of Health and Wellness, demonstrates some simple, blood circulation-boosting moves you can do right at your desk that can help decrease your chance of heart disease or turn it around. 

Heart Healthy Workout Instructions:
Do this circuit 3-4 times/day
As many reps as you can do, no amount is too small



  • Works chest, back and traps
  • Keep body as flat as possible, your rear end shouldn't be sticking up
  • Modify push up by doing it against the wall



  • Works back, glutes and quads
  • Make sure to keep your chest up; it helps to look up as you squat
  • Modify by squatting onto your office chair; make sure it's locked 


Standing Planks w/ Lateral Arm Raises

  • Works core and shoulders
  • Hands farther apart = more stabilization, closer together = more advanced 

Other fitness hacks:
Park as far away as possible in parking lots
Do laps around the office (aim for 10,000 steps a day)
Take the stairs

Loving-Kindness Meditation

Meditation is a beneficial tool for managing stress levels and easing mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. But did you know that different kinds of meditations affect different parts of your brain? The Loving-Kindness Meditation's purpose is to generate feelings of happiness and positive emotions towards yourself and others. Pretty sure we can all agree that love is more of what we need these days.

Try the meditation below.

Continuum Updates

Click on each image for more information.

Announcing new Crisis Recovery Services Program for substance use and co-occurring mental illness.

Continuum Job Fair on Thursday, February 22 at 109 Legion Avenue from 10 am - 4 pm. Register here.

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