When the month of February comes around, most of us think of Valentine’s Day. February is all about hearts, which is probably why it is the official month for American Heart Month! This February, people are encouraged to learn more about their heart health and take precautions in order to prevent heart disease from occurring. Heart disease is the number one killer of women; however, it is 80% preventable. Knowledge of your heart health will help in determining if steps need to be taken to improve it.
In order for your heart to be healthy, your lifestyle must be healthy. The food you eat can greatly reduce your chances of heart disease and stroke. Foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium will improve heart health, and be sure to include many different fruits and vegetables, fiber-rich whole grains, oily fish, nuts, legumes, and seeds into your diet and try eating some meals without meat for this month. Starting to change your diet and habits for this month will make it easier for you to continue to eat healthy and change your lifestyle.
Physical activity is also important in a heart-healthy life. Slowly working up to at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity every week, such as brisk walking, or an hour and fifteen minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity, such as jogging, will ensure a healthier heart. Strength training should also be included in at least two or more days a week to strengthen the major muscle groups which will, in turn, strengthen the heart. Make it a goal to focus on improving or maintaining your heart health this American Heart Month in order to create a healthy lifestyle that will become second nature to you for the years to come!