February is synonymous with Valentine’s Day and love, but did you know it’s also American Heart Health Month? It’s the perfect time to remind you how serious the risk of heart disease can be and how to prevent heart problems. Taking care of your “ticker” can be the greatest gift you can give yourself and those who love you.
COVID and Your Heart
As you are taking steps to stay healthy during the pandemic? It’s important to know that COVID-19 not only impacts the lungs, but it can also have a profound impact on your heart.
Your lifestyle can play a huge role in your risk for heart problems.
6 STEPS TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEART
Don’t be a couch potato. Did you know that you are twice as likely to develop heart problems if you’re not moving around? It’s a great time to be active!
Set a goal to be active at least 150 minutes or 21/2 hours a week. Break up the time you’re sitting each day with 10 minutes of activity, 3 times a day, or one good 30-minute session. Any amount of moving around is better than nothing! Exercise is always better with friends, family, or co-workers. Exercising with someone else can make the activity easier and let’s face it, much more fun!
Try a yoga or fitness class with your best friend. You can even try a virtual class online with a buddy in another city. A brisk daily walk is always a good idea.
It’s been said, “You are what you eat”. So, what are you eating? “A diet that is low in sodium and saturated fat can help keep the heart problems far away from you,” said Pride PHC Vice President, Andy Cruz.
Consider the DASH Plan. It’s a great program that includes eating more vegetables, fruits, and whole-grained foods. Also include fish, poultry, beans, nuts, vegetable oils, and low-fat dairy products in your heart-healthy diet.
You should also try to sidestep foods that are high in saturated fat and salt.
A sweet treat is great every once in a while, but try to limit how much sugar and other sweeteners are part of your everyday diet.
Sticking to a heart-healthy eating plan is much easier to achieve, if you have some help from a friend or loved one who can keep you motivated.
Know Your Numbers
Keeping track of your progress can be key to your success. It’s a good idea to monitor your blood pressure, your weight, and your cholesterol. The better your numbers, the better your chances of success and keeping your heart healthy for years to come.
Get your Sleep
Stress can keep you from getting a good night’s sleep and can lead to high blood pressure and heart problems. So, be sure to get a sufficient amount of sleep. Poor sleep can also lead to the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. Most people need 7 to 8 hours of sleep. How many hours are you getting every night?
Yes, it’s hard to stop smoking, but the chemicals in tobacco can harm your heart! Do you vape? There is evidence that the flavorings in vaping products can cause serious damage to your heart.
You don’t have to kick the habit alone. Ask friends and family to help support your effort to kick the smoking habit. There are also a variety of groups and classes you can take to help you break your addiction.
Maintain Healthy Weight
Carrying around extra pounds can be hard on your heart. Extra weight can also increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and strokes. Controlling your weight will do wonders for keeping heart problems away. If you need to lose weight connect with friends and family to help keep you on track.
“A healthier heart means a healthier, happy life and that’s what we’re committed to every day for everyone we serve at Pride PHC,” said Cruz.
It’s often hard to change your routines, but once you make a commitment to better health, your heart will thank you for it!