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February is American Heart Health Month

February is American Heart Health Month

Everyone should be having the conversation about heart health with family and friends but also that conversation needs to include talking about making lifestyle changes that benefits the heart. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women. Making changes is very important but if done with someone you love and care about such as a family member or a close friend, this can only inspire you and help that loved one want to make heart healthy changes too.

Preventing heart disease is possible and the following are steps that can be taken to improve your heart health which includes, of course, to stop smoking. Secondhand smoke is dangerous and needs to be avoided. Control cholesterol and blood pressure by visiting your doctor for the best advice. Limiting alcohol consumption by not more than 1 drink a day for women and not more than 2 drinks a day for men. Eating healthy by getting plenty of fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products and limits on trans fats, sugars and salt.

If you are that couch potato, get off the couch and get active. Aerobic exercise over two hours a week is best. Exercise and eating healthy will help you lose that 10 pounds of excessive weight which can lower risks of heart disease. 

If it is your significant other, a sibling or good friend that needs encouragement, try doing all of this together and both of you will benefit. Make plans for healthy meals and go shopping together. Get active by taking a walk every day and gradually building up the pace. Makes plans to meet at the park. In in our area we have beautiful parks and it doesn’t cost a penny to walk the trails. Walking your dog counts too. Take turns. One walks the dog at a more sedate pace while the other is walking at a more ‘get your heart pumping’ pace and then switch. 

Visit your doctor to start the discussion based on your own personal needs. Find that special person or persons and make a plan. Our weather will start improving so get outside. Get started on that walking regimen and be careful what you are eating. This is a start. Your heart will love it.

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