We love February, and not just because of Valentine’s Day. Rather, it is because February is heart month. We use February as an opportunity to commit to a heart healthy lifestyle and promote ways to make changes that can lead to a lifetime of heart health. As it is heart month, what are some ways you can make small changes that will make a big impact?
What is Heart Month?
Heart month was created to shed a light on heart disease and promote prevention. The fact is, heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, accounting for 1 in 4 deaths. Sadly, more than half of all Americans have at least one risk factor for heart disease. These factors include obesity, high blood pressure, unhealthy diets, and physical inactivity.
Changes You Can Make for Heart Month
This month is a great opportunity to commit to making changes that can make a big difference. And, while you are making changes, help spread awareness! Here are some small changes you can make, and encourage your friends and family to do the same.
- See your doctor and talk about heart health – It is important to get regular check-ups, even if you do not feel sick. Use this opportunity to work with your doctor to set goals for improving your heart health and seek out their advice as to what steps you need to take.
- Add exercise to your daily routine – This can be difficult, but you do not need to immediately run a marathon. Simply start with walking for 15 minutes, 3 days each week. In a couple weeks, increase to 30 minutes of walking. Doing this will help take weight off and increase your cardio fitness!
- Healthy eating – Specifically attempt to eat heart-healthy meals at least three times a week. Make efforts to lower sodium in your recipes and skip the added salt. If you need additional seasoning, use dried or fresh herbs or spices.
- Do not smoke – If you are a smoker, February is a great time to quit.
- High blood pressure medication – if you are on medication and are having trouble with taking them on time or experiencing side effects, do consult with your doctor.
- Know Your Calcium Heart Score – This is the only clinically proven, non-evasive test for early detection of heart disease.
How to Use this Information
Since it is heart month, we do encourage changes to prevent heart disease. And, we encourage you to promote awareness of this deadly disease and what people can do to prevent it. Have conversations with your friends and family. In fact, you can encourage them by doing changes with them. This can be as simple as taking walks with them or enjoying heart healthy meals together. Or, you can take some of our classes together!