According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for more than 600,000 deaths every year (source). This Valentine’s Day, I’d like you to show your heart some love. How can you do this?
1. If you smoke, STOP. Now. Even an occasionally cigarette here and there is damaging to your health. Check out smokefree and this site from the Mayo Clinic for tips on how to quit.
2. Eat a heart-healthy diet. Aim for foods that are low in fat, cholesterol and salt. Strive to choose healthy meats, low-fat dairy, healthy fats, and include plenty of fruits and vegetables.
3. Maintain a healthy weight. Reducing your weight by just 10% (if you are overweight) can have tremendous health benefits and lower your chances for heart disease and diabetes.
4. Get regular exercise. Shoot for 30 to 60 minutes of exercise (cardio, strength training, yoga, it really doesn’t matter) most days of the week. Even little changes can add up. Take the stairs, park farther away, vacuum your house. You get the idea.
5. Get a good night’s sleep. 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night will help keep your heart healthy.
6. Know your family history and get regular health screenings. Knowledge really is power. Get a physical every year that includes blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes screenings.
7. Know the warning signs of Stroke and Heart Attack. Learn CPR. The American Heart Association is an excellent resource.
8. Manage stress and live a happy life. You know what they say, laughter is the best medicine.
We here at The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans wish you and yours a Happy Valentine’s Day! Now tell me, what are you going to do today to show your heart some love?
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