February is American Heart Month, and throughout the 29 days of this month (yes, it’s a leap year) we will be promoting awareness and how to reduce your risk of developing heart-related illness and diseases.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women, men, and many racial and ethnic groups in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You can reduce your chances of developing heart disease through a balanced, healthy daily diet and exercise routine.
Let’s start with fitting in regular exercise. Adults need about 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity, or 75 minutes per week of high-intensity activity. Any kind of moving counts towards that goal. If you’re starting a brand new exercise routine, start small, choose an activity that you like, and build on it each week. Getting the recommended amount of exercise isn’t boring when you get creative!
Here are a few activities that play a big role in prevention:
A 10-minute brisk walk or even walking in place three times a day gets your heart rate up. Challenge yourself as this routine gets easier. Try walking faster, for longer, or go on a light jog!
If you’ve been sedentary or want to pump up your workouts, gradually improve strength with moderate weight lifting and balance exercises. Not sure where to start? Try these exercises that use your body weight as resistance.
If you love to dance, turn up your radio and have a 20-minute dance party to get your heart pumping.
Yes, an afternoon spent in your vegetable garden or tending to your flowers is great for reducing the risk of developing heart disease! Getting fresh air certainly doesn’t hurt, either.
The most important point to remember is that any activity that gets the blood flowing is beneficial for heart health. The less you sit and the more you move, the more you show your heart some love!
Friday, February 7 is the American Heart Association National Wear Red Day. The day is dedicated to increasing awareness for women’s heart health. Pull out your favorite red shirt or dress and wear it in support of mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends who have been impacted by heart disease.