February is widely known as American Heart Health Month.
Nearly half—48 percent—of adults in our country have some type of cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association’s Heart and Stroke Statistics (per the 2019 Update, published in the Association’s journal, Circulation).
That’s an alarming percentage. So let’s be in the heart-healthy half.
Here’s more info to help in your journey:
- Just 30 minutes per day of exercise helps heart health. With 24 hours to choose from, can you find 30 minutes?
- Kissing releases hormones that lower cholesterol. All the more reason to smooch your honey this Valentine’s month.
- Happiness is said to lower the risk of heart disease. Smile a little more. Invite laughter into your life.
- Be aware of your weight as excess pounds increases risk of heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
- Get your zzz’s. Make sleep a priority in your life. Those who don’t get enough quality sleep have a higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and depression. How much is enough? Generally speaking, most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
- Eat well. Like, in a healthy way. Consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish and whole grains can help protect your heart.
- Don’t smoke or use tobacco. This is the No. 1 most significant risk factor for developing heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. The good news? As soon as you quit, your risk for developing heart disease lowers significantly. And after about 15 years smoke-free? Your risk is nearly the same as a forever-non-smoker.
- Cope with stress in a healthy way. Choose a physical activity, meditation and relaxation exercises to relieve your stress, instead of alcohol or overeating.
- Don’t be a stranger with your doc. Get your regular checkups and screenings. The worst case of heart disease is not knowing you have it.