People with severe mental and/or substance use disorders are more likely to die from heart disease than the general population. That’s why SAMHSA became a partner in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Million Hearts® Initiative, which aims to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. One great way to improve your heart health is by getting outside and getting active.
Summer is a season where people have the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and engage in physical and wellness activities. For individuals with mental and/or substance use conditions, wellness is the presence of purpose in life, active involvement in satisfying work and play, a healthy body and living environment, joyful relationships, and happiness.
Overall well-being incorporates the mental, emotional, physical, occupational, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of a person’s life. Physical wellness—recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods and rest—is vital for people with mental and/or substance use conditions to sustaining quality and longevity of life.
So, let’s get moving! Take advantage of the last pleasant days of summertime weather, and participate in physical activities such as walking, jogging, running, biking, and swimming. These activities are a great way to reduce high blood pressure, one of the leading causes of heart disease and stroke.Try to do at least 2 ½ hours a week of moderate physical activity. Getting regular exercise is important, because inactivity can weaken muscles and the cardiovascular system.
The warm, summer sun is a great energizer to get active and be social. Consider joining an activity group such as a walking, dancing, or gardening group. The group can serve as a support system in achieving your heart healthy goals and can also enhance your sense of belonging in the community. One example is the SoberHood Organization's recovery and wellness softball tournaments held in conjunction with the Big Texas Rally for Recovery. Another example is the The Recovery Café's weekly yoga and African dance classes.
Take action to improve your wellness this summer. Get started with the following resources: