Hearts are associated with love and life, and that’s why American Heart Month is so important. For the month of February, it’s important to take a look at what keeps your heart healthy so that your life stays strong, happy, and full of vitality and love for many years to come.
According to the American Heart Association, “Cigarette and tobacco smoke, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity and diabetes are the six major independent risk factors for coronary heart disease that you can modify or control.” Since heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, it’s important to be vigilant in your daily health routines. Simple healthy habits can help prevent heart attacks and other heart-related issues. Here are a just few tips for keeping your heart beating long and strong.
Know the signs of a heart attack
One of the most important things to remember is that not all heart attacks come on quickly and with intense pain. Heart attacks can also begin slowly and with milder warning signs. It’s important to be able to identify and react to these symptoms as soon as possible.
- Discomfort in the chest. If you have discomfort in the center of your chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or is an intermittent pain, or if you have feelings of pressure, squeezing, fullness, you may be in the early stages of a heart attack.
- Pain in other areas of the upper body such as discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach can indicate heart attack.
- Other symptoms can include shortness of breath, cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
Need some food tips and tricks?
- Watch your portion sizes – reducing overall caloric intake can help with weight and cholesterol issues
- Choose lean meats or skinless poultry for meals
- Opt for low-fat dairy products
- Cut back on your salt/sodium intake
- Eat more fiber
- Limit alcohol consumption
The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of exercise a day.
- Get moving! Increasing physical activity reduces heart attack risk and reduces stress.
- Try small chunks of exercise at a time like walking for 10-minutes at a time, 3 times a day, 5 times per week.
- Make it fun! Ride a bike, go swimming, play outside with the kids – the point is to get your heart pumping and your body moving.
Quitting smoking has innumerable benefits!
- Lowers blood pressure
- Increases stamina for exercise
- Decreases risk for heart attack and stroke
For more tools and tips on living your happiest, healthiest heart life, visit the American Heart Association website at www.heart.org/HEARTORG/
(we are not affiliated with this site).