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Posted on: February 4, 2021

Don’t Take the Beats for Granted during American Heart Month

Amer Heart Month health items

Did you know people with close relationships at home, work or in the community tend to be healthier and live longer? One reason according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is that we’re more successful at meeting our health goals when we join forces with others. 

Why Connecting is Good for Your Heart
Feeling connected with and being motivated by others benefits our overall health, including our blood pressure and weight. Follow these heart healthy lifestyle tips with everyone and you’ll be heart healthier for it: 

  • Be more physically active 
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a nutritious diet
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce your stress
  • Get quality sleep
  • Track your heart health stats 

Move more
Invite others to join in your efforts to be more physically active:

  • Ask a colleague to walk with you on a regular basis; text or call to make sure you both show up
  • Grab your kids, put on music and do jumping jacks, skip rope or dance 
  • Make social time active time; think of fun activities that get you off the couch  

Aim for a healthy weight
Find someone who also wants to reach or maintain a healthy weight. Losing just 5-10% helps. Check in with your partner regularly to stay motivated. Try walking or playing on a neighborhood sports team. Share low-calorie, low-sodium meals or recipes. healthy cooking.jpg

Eat heart healthy
Research shows that eating healthier, compared to a typical American diet, lowers high blood pressure and improves blood cholesterol levels. Find delicious recipes at NHLBI’s Heart Healthy Eating web page.

Quit smoking
Gain support from family/friends to stop smoking or join a support group. Research shows people are more likely to quit if someone close does. Online support can also help you quit. Remember, thousands of adult nonsmokers die of stroke, heart disease and lung cancer caused by secondhand smoke. 

Manage stress
Reducing stress improves heart health. Entice a friend or family member to do a relaxing activity daily (walk, do yoga, meditate or enroll in a stress management class). Talk to a qualified mental health provider or someone you trust. 

Improve sleep
Sleeping 7-8 hours a night is heart-healthy. De-stressing and getting 30-minutes of sunlight daily also helps with sleep. Take a walk instead of a late afternoon nap! Turn off all screens and relax with music, reading or a bath. 

Track your heart health stats with a partner
Logging your blood pressure, weight goals, physical activity and blood sugar numbers helps you stay on a heart healthy track. Ask your friends or family to join the effort. Check out NHLBI’s Healthy Blood Pressure for Healthy Hearts: Tracking Your Numbers worksheet. 

You don’t have to make big changes all at once. Small steps will get you where you want to go. 

Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. About 90% of middle-aged people and more than 74% of young adults have one or more risk factors for heart disease (diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, smoking and obesity). Having multiple risk factors increases your risk for heart disease.

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