February is a month full of heart … No, not because of Valentine’s Day! February is also National Heart Month, which makes it the perfect time to think about what you can do to be “heart happy.” After all, your heart is one thing you quite literally can’t live without. Everything from diet and exercise to your levels of stress and happiness contribute to how your heart performs. Keeping your heart healthy and happy, then, is about more than just getting in a good workout every once in a while (though it couldn’t hurt). It’s about making good lifestyle choices to do what’s right for your health! Here are a few suggestions to help you concentrate on heart health this month!
Kick Up the Cardio
Add a little exercise to your daily routine. Go for walks. Join a Zumba class. Take advantage of the free Fitness Center! Aim for 15 minutes of activity three times a week to start, and gradually increase your activity level as you feel more comfortable!
Kick Out Bad Habits
If you’re a smoker, now’s a good time to quit. Quitting can significantly reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke, among other things! Wave farewell to fatty foods. Reduce the amount of sodium in your diet. Use spices instead of salt to add flavor to your food. Say goodbye to bad habits and say hello to a happier heart!
What’s Up, Doc?
Don’t forget the importance of regular check-ups with your doctor … even when you’re not sick. Your doctor can help you set heart healthy goals. Doctors are also great resources for asking questions about your health in general; remember, there’s no such thing as a stupid question when it comes to your health! And make sure you’re willing to trust their advice … because they’re doctors, and you’re not.
Just Relax …
Raise your hand if you’ve NEVER had a stressful day at school, work, home, the store, church, the park … Yeah, we’ve all had stressful days. It’s impossible to avoid stress, but it is possible to learn to manage it. Take time daily just for yourself. Take a long bath or an extra long shower. Do some yoga. Take a nap. Meditate. Listen to relaxing music. Do whatever it takes to allow the stresses of your day to simply melt away … even if it just means putting your stressor on the back burner for now. Your heart will thank you!
Heart health is not magic. It is simply the process of making good choices. Celebrate National Heart Month by showing your heart a little extra TLC!