February is Healthy Heart Awareness month! It is the time to assess how healthy your heart is and see if there is anything that you can do to make it more functional and prevent future disease.
Cardiovascular Disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, however, it is also a disease that can be prevented if you take the right steps.
Here are some tips to help prevent heart disease.
- Get at least 30 minutes of exercise 3 times a week: It helps to have a friend or family member to work out with and to keep you accountable.
- Eat 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Make this fun for kids by creating a “rainbow” of colorful foods. You also want to make sure you have a good variety to get the most nutrients.
- Managing stress. This can be done through meditation, exercise, reading, or anything else that either slows your heart rate or brings your mind away from the stressor.
- Avoid smoking and second hand smoke. This means e-cigarettes as well as cigars, and cigarettes.
- Get regular check ups from your doctor: Know your numbers for a healthy blood pressure and heart rate.
- Choose foods that are right for your heart: This means select foods that are low sodium and low sugar.
- Watch caffeine intake: This means coffee, energy drinks, and even some chocolate.
- Sleep at least 6-9 hours a night: Continuous sleep and routines matter to getting good sleep and feeling the benefits from it.
- Know your family history: Find out if there is a history of heart disease and at what age it effected your family member.
Here is a chart of how to get involved in Healthy Heart Awareness month with you work, family, or friends.
|1||Be physically active together||Share how you’re moving more with others. Have walking meetings. Start a walking club with your church group. Join an exercise class with a neighbor. Share on social media!|
|2||Eat healthier together||Share heart healthy recipes with friends. Go grocery shopping with your family for healthy ingredients. Make a heart healthy meal for a potluck. Share on social media!|
|3||Track your heart health stats together||Remind each other to keep a log of your blood pressure, healthy weight goals, and physical activity. Share on social media!|
|4||Manage stress, sleep better, and quit smoking together||Use your support “squad” to remind each other to stick to the same bedtime every night. Do a stress reducing activity like yoga or meditation together. Tell a friend you’re quitting smoking and ask for their support. Share on social media!|
For more information on Healthy Heart Awareness month, visit: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/