Keep Your Heart Happy — 10 Tips for a Healthier You

woman holding plastic heart

February is American Heart Month, a time to prioritize our cardiovascular health and embrace habits that promote well-being. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States — on average, someone in the U.S. dies of Cardiovascular Disease every 34 seconds. While there are genetic factors at play, we still have significant power to influence our own heart health through lifestyle choices.

10 Ways to keep your heart happy and healthy

Here are some actionable steps you can take this month and beyond to keep your heart happy and healthy:

  1. Move Your Body: Each week, adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and two days of muscle-strengthening activity, according to the current Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. This can include brisk walking, swimming, biking, dancing, or any activity that gets your heart rate up. Remember, even small bursts of activity throughout the day add up!
  2. Fuel Up Wisely: Choose a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Limit unhealthy fats, processed foods, and added sugar, which contribute to heart disease risk. The American Heart Association (AHA) offers a wealth of resources on heart-healthy eating, including recipes and meal plans.
  3. Don’t Forget the Fiber: Fiber helps regulate cholesterol and blood sugar levels, both important factors for heart health. Aim for at least 25-35 grams of fiber per day from sources like fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains.
  4. Manage Stress: Chronic stress can take a toll on your heart. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, or spending time in nature.
  5. Get Regular Checkups: Schedule regular checkups with your doctor to monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. Early detection and management of these risk factors can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease.
  6. Know Your Numbers: Knowing your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels is crucial for understanding your heart health and taking the necessary steps for improvement. Work with your doctor to set healthy goals and create a personalized plan.
  7. Quit Smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease. If you smoke, quitting is the single best thing you can do for your heart health. The AHA provides resources and support to help you quit.
  8. Limit Alcohol Consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption can increase your risk of heart disease. The AHA recommends limiting alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
  9. Sleep Well: Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. When you’re sleep-deprived, your body produces more stress hormones, which can contribute to heart disease.
  10. Spread the Word: Share your commitment to heart health with friends and family. Encourage them to join you in making healthy choices and promote awareness about heart disease prevention.

Remember, small changes can make a big difference when it comes to heart health. By incorporating these tips into your daily routine, you can take control of your well-being and build a foundation for a healthier, happier life. This February, let’s make a commitment to our hearts. By prioritizing healthy habits and living a balanced lifestyle, we can all reduce our risk of heart disease and embrace a brighter, healthier future.

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