Heart-Healthy Habits in Quarantine

by Maia Gadsden in Focus on Philanthropy

It goes without saying that life is different in quarantine. As we all adjust to a new normal, it’s important to lean into healthy habits to keep our hearts strong. We connected with two sisters and a past Heart to Heart Grant recipient to learn how they’ve put their hearts first while staying at home.

Here are three simple tips to take care of your heart during this time:

Tip 1: Aim for at least 30 minutes of daily moderate-intensity exercise to get your heart pumping!

During this stay-at-home era, Alpha Phi alumna Keely McGrath (Gamma-DePauw) began sharing her workouts on Instagram and recently launched her new account Burn + Brew, where she shares two of her favorite things: exercise and brews.

A marketing manager by day, Keely is also an American Council on Exercise (ACE) Certified Personal Trainer and nutrition coach. Encouraged by a former boss who admired her passion for “helping others find their ‘feel-good moments’ in life,” Keely now hosts live Zoom workouts and posts free circuits on Instagram.

Keely’s recommendation for a 30-minute heart-pumping sweat session? 

“I love HIIT or circuit training,” she shares. “Powering through a time-based circuit is the perfect way to get your heart rate up and get your workout in for the day. If it’s beautiful outdoors, I love taking my workouts outside or going on an interval run.”

Check out Burn + Brew to follow some of Keely’s free workouts or tune into her next Zoom workout! 

Tip 2: Incorporate nutrient-rich foods into your diet!

Recent CSU Long Beach graduate, Justine Okajima (Gamma Kappa-CSU Long Beach)is the brains and palate behind Justine Eats, an Instagram food blog dedicated to providing simple and nutritious food inspiration. 

Started in 2018, Justine Eats shows everyday people how to create nourishing meals while on a budget. Justine believes eating beautifully—inside and out—is an “underrated method of self-care,” and has used her time at home to share recipes designed to help others eat and feel good.  

Justine’s go-to recipes for an easy, hearthealthy meal?  

Some of my favorite recipes include oatmeal topped with fresh berries; nourish bowls filled with leafy greens, legumes, and roasted veggies; apple donuts topped with nut butter and superfoods; and veggie hummus wraps.” 

Head over to Justine Eats for more healthy and delicious recipes! 

Tip 3: Learn about your own heart health risk.

Your biology and biography inform your risk factors for cardiac complications. Set time aside to discuss these with your family and physician to understand your personal prevention plan better.

The #DIGIN project, a partnership between cardiologists from the Yale School of Medicine and The Patient Revolution, helps make these conversations easier for physicians and patients alike. Funded by the 2018 Heart to Heart Grant, the project uses human-centered design to engage women in community events to discuss their cardiovascular health.

“These conversations around risk are complex and ever more salient when we think about risks during the time of COVID-19,” shares lead investigator and cardiologist Dr. Erica Spatz.

“These types of sessions are necessary so that we can be comfortable with different kinds of cardiovascular risk and start to encourage women to have better and more rich discussions with their doctors and in their communities.”

If you’re interested in tools to assess your risk of cardiac complications or how to talk to your physician about your risk, view The Patient Revolution guide and resources here.


Have you been exploring new ways to take care of your heart during quarantine? Tag us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter to share your heart-healthy routines with us.

Post tagged with: , , , ,
  • Share this story!