This month, take time to think about your heart

 
By Mina Radman • Published: February 1st, 2018
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

February marks American Heart Month, and it’s a great time to talk about keeping your heart strong.

The heart is one of the most vital organs in the human body, and heart disease is a major killer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death among both men and women in the United States, claiming about 630,000 people each year. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to keep your heart healthy.

First, make physical activity part of your daily routine. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. That’s 30 minutes a day, five days per week. Aerobic exercises that benefit your heart include swimming, walking and running. Sneak in extra exercise by choosing the stairs over the elevator and taking short walks throughout the day.

Second, eat well. A heart healthy diet is low in salt and added sugar. Eat loads of fruits and vegetables and stick to whole grains and lean meats. Aim to eat fish at least once per week, as fish contain Omega-3, a nutrient that reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Third, get plenty of sleep. Sleep deprivation exacerbates all health conditions and can negatively impact your heart health. A study by the American Heart Association found people with poor sleeping habits had an increased risk of high blood pressure, which is a factor in heart disease. Adults should aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

This month, take care of your heart by following these steps to ensure it’s in top shape for years to come. Your loved ones will be grateful that you did.