I used to train athletes in “heart rate based workouts.” Athletes would put on a heart rate monitor, and we would watch their heart rate shift on a big screen up on the wall. Different colors represented different heart rate levels. I could look up on the monitor and see if an athlete was “sand baggin” it (yellow), or going all out and (red)! It was a fun way to help others get fit. 

 Here’s a way you can tell if your heart is healthy and conditioned.

  • 1. Put your index and middle finder on the side of your neck and feel for a pulse. Once you find your pulse, or your heart beat, get a stopwatch and let it run for 60 seconds. Count how many beats are in that minute. It’s different for everybody.
  • 2. For 1 minute, do as many jumping jacks as you can. In other wards, get your heart rate REALLY high, or beating really fast.
  • 3. Put your fingers back on your neck for that pulse. Set a timer again, but this time see how long it takes for your heart rate to drop back to its “resting state,” or the rate it was when you first started counting the beats. A very conditioned heart will recover back to its “resting rate” faster than an “unhealthy” heart. The quicker you recover, the healthier you are.   
photo source

There’s also another type of heart health I want to touch on. Elder Gary E. Stevenson spoke about our “spiritual heart rates” in the 2018 Christmas Devotional.

He said, “In my professional life, I was involved in the development, manufacturing, and marketing of fitness equipment around the world. Equipment like treadmills, stationary bikes, and elliptical machines is designed primarily to strengthen the heart. Indeed, at our company we went to great lengths to ensure that equipment users could accurately measure the condition and activity levels of their heart through heart-rate monitors. Today, many of us wear technology on our wrists that monitors our heart and encourages activities to strengthen our heart.

What if there were a way to measure the condition of your heart from a spiritual perspective—a spiritual heart monitor, if you will? What would your heart monitor say? How spiritually healthy is your heart? The Christmas season seems like an ideal time for us to thoughtfully evaluate the status of our own heart.

For example, you might ask yourself, ‘Is my heart prepared to receive the Savior?’ At Christmastime we often sing, ‘Let every heart prepare him room.’ How can you prepare room in your heart for Christ, especially during this busy yet wonderful season?”

If there was a way to measure our spiritual heart heath, what would your monitor say? Would it be in the “yellow zone” and be “sand baggin” those small and simple things that bring us to the Savior—like scripture study, prayer, attending church? Or are you in the “red zone” and working over time to grow spiritually?

I invite you to pray to our Heavenly Father and pick 1 thing you can do THIS month to increase your “spiritual heart health!”

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