Preventing Cardiovascular Disease With Hardiness Coaching

Patricia VanGalen
Patricia VanGalen
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Like a leaky roof, do we patch the hole and hope for the best? Or do we replace and restore it and do the maintenance to optimize it, despite extreme weather conditions? In ski-speak, we joke about variable conditions, which are never predictable. In life, it’s the same thing.

Are we prepped and ready for the curveballs and Murphy-strikes that WILL come our way? Do we have an ample buffer, a reserve capacity to pull from? Can we bounce back repeatedly, take hits and remain solid? Hardy folks can and do! Think of a hardy person you know. What keeps them surviving and thriving?

Ready to change lives and promote heart healthiness? Consider becoming a personal trainer today!

Stats on Cardiovascular Disease

Today, it is well-accepted that Cardiovascular Disease (CVD), the leading cause of death in the U.S., is rooted in inflammation, insulin resistance, oxidative stress (rusting), hormonal imbalances, and exposure to toxins. We also know that a lousy diet, long-term micro-nutrient deficiencies, physical inactivity, chronic distress, and various toxins raise cholesterol and blood pressure exacerbating an inflammatory response in our arterial endothelium.

Remember that half of the people who experience heart attacks do NOT suffer from hypercholesterolemia. To quote Mark Hyman, M.D., Founder, Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, “CVD is not about cholesterol; it is about inflammation in a cholesterol environment.”

So, when 45-year-old 2-stent Charlie, husband, father of three, small business owner, with a passion for hunting and fishing, comes to me, I need Whole-Charlie coaching. A Hardiness model fills the bill.

What is Hardiness Coaching?

Hardiness Coaching is designed to fortify FIVE structural pillars:

1) Movement.

2) Diet.

3) Rest-Recovery-Regeneration.

4) Stress Resistance.

5) Purpose-Relevance-Meaning.

The Pillars are grounded in a foundation of DAILY habits, patterns, and practices, not programs with a start and end date. They are interconnected, and the robustness of one supports the others; if one crumbles, the others bear the brunt. By repairing cracks and leaks within a given pillar, we boost overall resilience, durability, and robustness, not just the CV issue at heart (no pun intended). Hey, what's good for the heart, is good for the brain, is good for the gut, is good for the immune system is.

Our clients come to us with the desire to move better, feel better and get back to living life, even surpassing it, despite their issues. Their current health does NOT define them, nor does their age. It’s our responsibility to meet them where they’re at, know where they have been [for decades], and get them where they want to go. Keeping their hopes and dreams alive is paramount.

As Hippocrates so eloquently stated, “Know the person who has the disease, not just the disease that has the person.” So, when we hear 'cardiac or cardiovascular,' think beyond the heart and vasculature for transport and waste removal. Think integration with the lymph and respiratory systems, and their role in running a well-oiled machine, one where the other six systems [gut microbiome, immune/inflammatory, energy production (mitochondria), waste disposal – detoxification, communication (neurotransmitters, hormones), structural (cells, tissues, organs) synergistically thrive. This is a Functional Medicine model. Check it out.

Clinical psychologists, physical therapists, or medical doctors, we are not. But, we impact lives in a multitude of ways, some measured by hard data and others by those intangibles like confidence and joy. Yes, we work within the physical realm, but when we take the integrated pillar approach to coaching Hardiness, we sync and link the pillars, buttressing them to exponentially resist and adapt better to the stresses and strains of life. Buttresses, NOT band-aids!

Three Components of the Movement Pillar

Coaching must transfer to performing and feeling better, at home, in labor, caregiving, recreation, and even competition. For example, with regards to the movement pillar, there are three realms:

1) physical activity, as in walking, stairs, labor and chores.

2) recreation, as in sport, dance, all-seasons G.O. on snow, ice, sand, or water.

3) Training, exercising with a purpose. All contribute to the robustness of our movement pillar. Training is only one piece of the movement pie, so yes to targeted training, AND to more movement in labor, hobbies, and play.

When training any adult, there are 7S Buckets that may need to be restored and refilled. The 7th Bucket is Specificity and Specifics. Specificity refers to “we get what we train for; we keep what we do!” Specifics are those things unique to our client; in this case, those CV conditions propelled the client in our direction in the first place. It may have been a primary care Doc, a referral from cardiac rehab, or simply the client’s grit to B.E. better. Whatever, we are here to fortify all their pillars of hardiness.

Don’t get me wrong. We must know CVD pathologies, physiology, metrics and measurement, and network with relevant healthcare professionals. But more importantly, we must customize and personalize coaching to provide the springboard for Charlie to thrive as a husband, father, business owner, and outdoorsman, to optimize his health-span and his zest for living life to his fullest.

MFC-Course-General-Ad (1)

So, from pacemakers, stents, meds and more, to risk factors, co-morbidities, MSK challenges, and all else that's in store, we practitioners are here to reboot, rebuild, coach, train, and restore.

Join Pat in May 2021 for Med Fits Cardiac Rehab Con-Ed course, the nuts, and bolts of coaching Hardiness within the cardiovascular system. Evidence-based facts, figures, updates, AND case studies will tweak your coaching. Integrate, don’t isolate! Sounds functional to me!

The Author

Patricia VanGalen

Patricia VanGalen

Patricia is a Cardiac Fitness Specialist with the Fit Med Network.


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