As you think about Valentine’s Day and celebrating the people you love, it’s also a good idea to take some time to evaluate your self care and heart health. February is American Heart Month, an annual celebration which began over 50 years ago to encourage Americans to join the battle against heart disease. Heart disease is still the single biggest health threat to Americans today. The good news is that healthy lifestyle choices can help prevent heart disease. Here are some ways to protect yourself.
- Maintain a healthy weight by controlling your portions and making good choices. If you have a bad day of eating, get back on track the next day.
- Control blood sugar and cholesterol by eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, healthy fats, and unprocessed grains. Limit sugar and unhealthy fats by enjoying treats only on special occasions.
- Exercise several times a week. Get outside or visit the gym and walk, swim, or bike. Incorporate movement into your daily routine to get your heart pumping. Alternate strength training into your workouts to build muscle.
- Reduce Stress by balancing your home and work life. Make time to do the things you enjoy regularly. Practice meditation or stress-reducing activities such as yoga to help you wind down each day.
- Practice gratitude by acknowledging the good in your life. By journaling or thinking about something you are thankful for each day, you’ll begin to appreciate the little things in life, which in turn leads to a positive attitude.
While science and medicine are advancing in many ways, the best treatment for heart disease is prevention. Take care of yourself as you do your loved ones and practice heart healthy habits. Encourage your loved ones to do the same.