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Show Your Heart A Whole Lotta Love

Show Your Heart A Whole Lotta Love

When we think of February, we think of hearts, but usually, the kinds that are filled with rich and creamy chocolate confections. Love is in the air as we work our way toward the 14th to show someone special how much we care.

This February makes the entire month one to cherish. Still, do the “hearts and love” thing, but on a grander scale. No, don’t go out and buy a box of candy the next size up; treat yourself and those you care about in an even better way.

American Heart Month is celebrated in February, with its kickoff in 1964. Of course, heart health is of year-round importance, but as a reminder to be healthier, a full month devoted to doing so is essential.

Research shows that we’re more successful at meeting personal health goals when we join forces with others. As you celebrate Valentine’s Day this month, think about those who mean the world to you—including yourself. Have those chocolates, but remember, a little goes a long way. Enjoying yourself is part of a healthy lifestyle, but moderation is this month’s message.

Take better care of yourself, for the sake of your heart. 1 in 4 deaths every year in the U.S. is due to heart disease, making it the leading cause of death in both men and women. Don’t become a statistic when you can take strides to become healthier.

These items below are a jumpstart for your heart, so beat the odds for your heart and your heart will beat longer and stronger for you.

Know your body

You can’t look in the mirror and see what’s going on inside. You may feel great, so you don’t see a doctor. While it’s good news that you’re functioning just fine, only a medical provider can determine if your systems are up to speed. Getting an annual physical exam is smart, as a proactive plan to protect you from illness. You may learn that you’re already ailing, so getting treatment can be a literal lifesaver.

Risk factors that can contribute to heart disease

  • High blood pressure (hypertension) and high cholesterol are biggies. Tests administered by a medical provider can determine if you’re in the danger zone and work out a safe solution.
  • Smoking has nothing going for it. Quit now. If you need help kicking the habit, talk to your vybe provider.
  • Diabetes affects blood sugar, causing damage to the heart due to build-up. Lifestyle changes, as well as medications, can turn things around.
  • A sedentary lifestyle may seem easy breezy, but it’s not healthy. You’re more likely to gain weight if you don’t exercise, which is linked to diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Get your blood pumping to strengthen your heart. You’ll look and feel better as a bonus.

Smart and simple heart-healthy lifestyle changes

  • Eat better. Lower your salt and added sugar intake, don’t fill up on processed foods, and pay attention to portion size. Pile your plate with leafy greens and other veggies, good-for-you grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, like Omega-3s. Swap out the soda and sugary drinks for water or tea.

You don’t have to dine alone. Make it a family affair at home and eat out with like-minded, health-conscious friends. Eating clean is delicious when done right.

  • Focus on fitness. You don’t have to run a marathon, but move your body regularly and make it part of your routine. The Mayo Clinic suggests “get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week and strength training at least two times a week.”

Pair up with a workout buddy and you’ll hold one another accountable. If you prefer to go it solo, remember to step it up as you progress.

  • Say goodbye to stress. It’s harder than it sounds, as we’re all swamped with work, frazzled by family, and pressured by our own problems. But stress can wreak havoc on the heart, as it can raise blood pressure, so learning to let it go is a gift.

Try some deep breathing exercises, get enough sleep, and prioritize your daily to-dos. The better you can manage your mindset, the less stress will overwhelm you.

Heart disease doesn’t discriminate

Heart disease doesn’t happen just to older adults. It is happening to younger adults more and more often. This is partly because the conditions that lead to heart disease are happening at younger ages.

No matter your age, you can do something. Follow these guidelines. Talk to your vybe provider. Know your family history. Make small steps if a huge shift in your lifestyle is too sudden. Spread the word about American Heart Month and get others on a heart-healthy mission too!

If you suspect you may have a heart condition, an EKG (electrocardiogram) can provide a quick analysis. vybe offers onsite EKGs to conveniently evaluate any concerns.