When we think about February, our thoughts turn to those we love. During the month of February, more than any other month, we show those we love our feelings through candlelight dinners, flowers, and fine chocolates. We spend time and are intentional about Valentine’s Card selection to be sure it reflects our feelings perfectly. Unfortunately, many of us give the “heart” in our Valentine’s card more attention than our own physical heart.
February 2022, I challenge you to pause and focus a little more on the month of February as American Heart month rather than Valentine’s hearts. This month is designated to promote cardiovascular health and raise awareness about heart disease. American Heart Month offers a wonderful opportunity to focus our attention on ways to promote and maintain heart health. Are you giving your heart the attention it deserves? Taking steps to maintain heart health is important at any age, but as you continue into the “golden years” heart health is even more important. Heart disease is responsible for more deaths in the United States than anything else. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate at least 200,000 deaths each year from cardiovascular disease could be prevented.
Here are some tips for keeping your heart healthy:
- Eat a well-balanced diet each day. We get bombarded with information on what to eat and what not to eat. The American Heart Association suggests eating a variety of nutritious foods such as vegetables, fruits, unrefined whole grains, and fish. Cut back on nutrient-lacking foods that are high in fat, cholesterol, and salt.
- Keep moving. A 30-minute walk a day helps keep your heart in shape. If 30 minutes seems too difficult, start slow. Begin with 10-minute walks and do them 3 times a day. The key is to keep moving.
- Absolutely do not smoke. Smoking or using tobacco products is one of the biggest risk factors in developing heart disease.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Extra pounds around your middle can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes—all conditions that increase your chances of heart disease.
- Visit your physician routinely for regular health screenings. Know your numbers for blood pressure and cholesterol so you can track them.
Heart health and wellness, make it a priority so you can continue to show family and friends how much you love them, not only in February but for years to come.
By Susie Ray, Marketing Director of The Arbordale, an independent living community in Urbandale, Iowa. Learn more about having a comfortable and convenient winter season at TheArbordale.com.