It’s Heart Health MONTH, Y’all!
February is American Heart Month, so it’s a great time to consider what we can DO to decrease your risk of heart disease or heart attack. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in many countries and while there are some risk factors that can’t be controlled, many risk factors can be reduced or eliminated. Here’s a few:
- If you smoke, stop! Smoking causes vasoconstriction and increases blood pressure. Of course, smoking may also increase your risk of emphysema and cancer.
- Eat healthy foods. Try to fill your plate with colorful, low-processed foods. Avoid fast foods and too many simple carbs like starchy vegetables, over-processed grains, and sugary desserts.
- Move your body every single day. Your body is a machine and it’s made to move. So get moving, walking, playing with your kids or grandkids, dancing, cycling, any activity you love, do it!
- Stop sitting so much. By now, everyone has heard sitting is the new smoking and research indicates sedentary lifestyles increase our risk of sudden death. Set an alarm as a reminder and get up and move around every hour. Stretch at your desk if you’re sitting for long periods. Take a quick walk on your lunch break. Be creative and think of ways to decrease your “chair time.”
- De-stress! That’s not easy in our busy world but make yourself a top priority and create ways to relax and release stress. Deep breathing is a simple and effective way to immediately release stress. Read a book on mindfulness and develop a plan of action for when you’re feeling overly stressed.
- Insist on getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Sleep is your body’s reboot time and good sleep allows your cells to recharge and repair. Turn those electronics off 1-2 hours before bedtime, develop a sleep routine, and track your sleep to see if you’re getting enough.
Move Heart Health UP on Your To-Do List
In the end, heart health can be connected to our self-love practices. Ladies, we often take care of everyone else, and neglect ourselves. Make your health a high priority and move your heart health activities to the top of your to-do list. If you’re not healthy, those other priorities are going to be hard to achieve!
What’s your favorite heart healthy habit? What’s your biggest challenge? Share below. Celebrate this month by making a plan to improve your heart health and encourage your family, friends, and patients to do the same! Here’s to your heart health! ❤️