At-home workout tips and healing advice from a heart attack survivor

Tasya Lacy, Go Red for Women 2020 Real Woman, shares her experience during the coronavirus pandemic

Tasya Lacy in red scarf

After my heart attack in 2016, I went through a severe depression and struggled to get out of bed. My passion for hula hoop fitness dwindled. It was difficult for me to work out and teach classes, and I lost sight of my love of movement.  

Although I’d prided myself on being healthy, my heart event changed everything. I gained weight because I wasn’t active. My long-term health goals fell to the side. I sat all the time, ate unhealthy foods and felt sorry for myself. I kept thinking, “this isn’t supposed to happen to me.”

Four years later, I’m in a similar situation, but I know I must take action for my health. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, my husband and I are practicing social distancing. We’re staying at home to limit our exposure to big crowds and to people who may be carrying the illness, even if they’re not showing symptoms. It’s challenging. I’m trying to stay strong since I’ve had to modify my life drastically and cancel my workout classes. 

I call myself a “triple threat” when it comes to my COVID-19 risk because I fall in the high-risk category given my age and two underlying medical conditions. In addition to being a heart attack survivor, I have a rare blood disorder that compromises my immune system. 

Right now, we all need at-home movement to keep us healthy and reduce stress. Here are my tips for staying safe and healthy and finding ways to be active.

Know your health care provider’s name and number. It’s smart to check in with your health care provider if you’re at risk for COVID-19. Have the name and number ready in case you experience symptoms or have questions about preventive measures you need to take. 

Know your risk for COVID-19. Awareness is key! I called my provider immediately to confirm I was at high risk for contracting the virus — and I encourage you to do the same if you’re a survivor. It’s important to understand the precautions you must take to stay safe and healthy. Now I’m taking measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and limit my risk of contracting the virus. 

Continue a healthy diet with shelf-stable products. What we put in our bodies has an impact on physical and mental wellbeing. My depression worsened when I ate foods high in sugar and salt. I don’t want to go down that path again, so I’m prioritizing eating fresh fruits and vegetables. I just made my own hummus — and it was a huge hit with my husband! 

Get active — and stay that way. As a Go Red for Women Real Woman, my motto is “find something you love and move!” I encourage you to find something you love that involves physical activity — and do it!  

The hula hoop played a big role in my recovery. Exercise helped my heart, reduced my stress and helped me overcome depression. My blood pressure improved, and I lost weight. Now I’ve modified the way I work out at home and you can, too.  

Try a virtual class. Check in with your local studios, instructors and gyms to find online or social media fitness classes so you can do moderate workouts at home. I’ve posted a few of my workout videos in the #GoRedGetFit Facebook community. Check them out!

Stay connected. Classes build community. But while we’re apart, you can text or call a friend and set up a time each day to do 20-30 minutes of exercise together virtually. 

Modify your workout as needed. If you’re unable to walk, try small arm movements like pumping your arms. If you can’t move your arms, try stepping in place. 

Clean your house if you have extra time. Household chores make for a great workout. Place towels on the floor and become a human mop. Get down on your hands and knees and scrub the floor to burn a few calories. 

Find something you love and continue to move even if your movement patterns look different right now. For more information on COVID-19, visit the American Heart Association’s resource page.  

You can read Tasya’s full story here