February is American Heart Month!
By: Taylor Schechter, Safety & Compliance Manager
Many think of February as the time for flowers, candy, and Valentines day cards. While many others are wearing red for a different reason. February is American Heart Month, to raise awareness about heart health and urge those around you to prevent heart disease.
About 17 million people in the U.S. have coronary heart disease. It the most common form of heart disease and can often be prevented. By following these tips, you can keep your heart healthy and spend many more Valentines Days with those you love!
- Get Active
Exercise has many benefits, including strengthening your heart and improving your circulation. It can also help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. All of these can lower your risk of heart disease. 30 minutes of activity a day can impact your long-term heart health.
- Eat Healthier
Try to limit saturated fats, foods high in sodium, and added sugars. Eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. There are many heart healthy recipes on the internet that are easy to make! Replace a trip to McDonald’s to a healthy home cooked meal.
- Track your heart health
Keep track of your blood pressure, healthy weight goals, and physical activity. This will indicate if there are any lifestyle changes or medications needed to lower your risk for heart disease.
- Manage stress
Stress is linked to heart disease in many ways. It can raise your blood pressure. Extreme stress can be a “trigger” for a heart attack. Also, some common ways of coping with stress, such as overeating, heavy drinking, and smoking, are bad for your heart. Some ways to help manage your stress include exercise, listening to music, focusing on something calm or peaceful, and meditating.
- Sleep better
If you don’t get enough sleep, you raise your risk of high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. Those three things can raise your risk for heart disease. Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Make sure that you have good sleep habits. Try sticking to the same bedtime every night
- Quit smoking.
Cigarette smoking raises your blood pressure and puts you at higher risk for heart attack and stroke. You can talk with your health care provider for help in finding the best way for you to quit.
Tip: Don’t do it alone. Research shows we are more successful at meeting personal health goals when we join forces with others. Walk with others, share healthy recipes, tell your friends your goals. “#OurHearts are healthier together”