February is all about heart health! During this time, we reflect on healthy practices and the many ways to keep one of the body’s most essential muscles working at peak performance. Prevention is just as important as mitigation in healthcare, so we turned to one of our providers to see how they keep their hearts healthy. Matt Cary, APRN, FNP, takes all aspects of health seriously. As a ReadyCare provider, he helps patients with various ailments and injuries. Some of these issues stem from poor heart health, reminding him of the importance of heart health in February and year-round.
Going the distance
“I do have some familial risk. I have had first- and second-degree relatives who have had issues with clotting, heart attacks, and aneurysms. This has been a major factor towards my drive to get healthier,” said Matt during a recent interview. Over the last few months, he has made great strides in improving his overall health through diet and exercise. This progress has resulted in improved blood pressure and resting heart rate.
Improved heart health isn’t the only goal for Matt. He started this journey to participate in Grandma’s Marathon hosted in Duluth. He plans to run that marathon in the summer of 2024.
Running has always been a big part of his life. He has competed in similar events, but he is giving it his all for this one. Matt has trained almost daily for the last five months to improve times and endurance. Both things rely heavily on a strong cardiovascular system. He and his wife have even turned their fitness routine into a household competition, seeing who can achieve certain goals faster.
Diet is just as important as exercise. Since October 2022, Matt has removed most processed food from his fridge. Although, he does sneak a dessert or some potato chips here and there. “Life would be rather boring if you didn’t enjoy foods like that occasionally. It is all about balance and moderation,” said Matt. Food is a big part of fitness, but it can also be a source of anxiety for some. Matt prepares meals ahead of time. That way, he doesn’t have to scramble daily to find a healthy meal.
Prevention and care
Matt stresses the need for annual physicals. A provider can readily track health progress during these critical exams while looking at lab work regarding cholesterol and blood sugar. These technical notes go a long way in preventing things like heart attacks and heart disease. Don’t wait on heart health. Get in contact with your provider and make sure you are scheduling a physical at least once every year.
For more information about Matt Cary and Astera Health, please visit asterahealth.org. Also, watch our social media for tons of great wellness tips from our team.