Written by: Charlene Morin

February was Heart Health Month.  Even though it is now March, media still focuses on all the issues of heart disease and how we can prevent and treat them.  We are bombarded with information on diet, exercise and the cessation of smoking.  These are the biggest changes that we can control to help in the prevention of developing heart disease and other health challenges.

However, there is a major component that we unfortunately have no control over. Genetics.  You know, the things of which we can thank our Mom and Dad. Whether it is our height, hair color, shape, laugh, or attitude we can thank (or blame) them.  Unfortunately, factors for developing health issues such as heart disease can also be passed down from your parents.

I bring this up due to the recent news of the heart attack suffered by the “Biggest Loser” trainer, Bob Harper.  This man has dedicated his life to health and fitness, and we often are left wondering how or why this would happen to such a healthy individual. Genetics.  Heart disease runs in the family and his own mother died of a heart attack. Luckily, Because of his healthy lifestyle he has survived and is on the road to recovery.

Physical fitness and healthy eating habits don’t guarantee immortality.  There are no guarantees in life.  However, developing healthy habits over your lifetime do lower risks for disease and help prevent recurrences of any negative incidences. Staying active and eating well are still your best defenses.

I was touched personally two years ago with the unexpected loss of my friend Lisa.  At only 47, she too was the picture of health.  She worked out daily and ate well.  A strong group fitness instructor, she had a passion for motivating people to better health and fitness.  She too collapsed at the gym working out.  Although, not categorized as a heart attack, she had underlying issues that caused Cardiomyopathy, which eventually lead to heart failing her. Genetics?  I’m not sure. I just know the loss of this powerful bundle of energy affected our small fitness family in the Merrimack Valley tremendously, and left us shaking our heads.  Sometimes when the harsh reality of a life cut too short hits us, we realize we need to embrace life.  We need to take a step back and accept who we are and where we came from.  Understand or past (family history. Etc.) so we can understand how to best prepare for our future.

Lisa had a big heart.  Her passion for fitness was only matched for her passion for animals.  To honor her memory, Flow Fitness held the MSPCA’s 14th Annual Spin for the Animals on March 18, 2017 from 9am -12 pm.  We wanted to thank everyone who participated, it was an amazing event and we look forward to hosting it again next year.

Thanks for having a heart!