Summertime is the perfect time to give your heart a break

woman doing yoga

Retired or not. Regardless of age. It doesn’t matter — we all have stress. But summer is here, and it’s the season for de-stressing. Why? Because it’s good for your heart.

“People don’t realize how detrimental stress is to the heart,” said Theresa Byrd, R.N. “Stress sets off a chain of events in the body that begins with the release of adrenaline, which causes your breathing and heart rate to speed up and your blood pressure to rise.”

These physical reactions prepare you to deal with the stressful situation, but when stress is constant (chronic), your body remains in high gear for an unhealthy amount of time. The result can be damage to the artery walls, according to Byrd.

Reducing stress is a simple — and enjoyable — way to improve your heart health. Check off these ways to reduce stress this summer:

  • Spend more time with the grandkids
  • Plant a garden
  • Read a good book
  • Make weekly visits to a farmers market
  • Go for walks
  • Take a vacation, even if it’s just to your own backyard
  • Go to an outdoor concert at a park
  • Take your spouse or a friend out on a date
  • See a movie
  • Buy yourself flowers
  • Slow down by doing tasks more mindfully
  • Try something new, whether a new hobby or a new food
  • Star gaze

–Joyce Retz

About our clinician

Theresa Byrd, R.N., is coordinator of Norton Women’s Heart & Vascular Center. She offers women’s heart disease risk assessments and counseling at Norton Medical Plaza 2 – St. Matthews, Suite 103, 3991 Dutchmans Lane; (502) 629-1234


De-stress with yoga

Norton Healthcare is offering yoga nidra, a deeply relaxing process that rejuvenates the body, mind and spirit. It includes breath exercises, gentle movement and guided relaxation. No yoga experience is required. Wear comfortable clothing and bring two bed pillows, two blankets and a yoga mat. Cost is $10 at the door. The class is being offered monthly on Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons throughout the summer. 

Yoga Nidra Classes
Upcoming dates: 8/17, 9/4, 9/21, 10/12, 11/9, 12/14
Register