Each February we celebrate Valentine’s Day with sugary treats, Hallmark cards, and dinners with our loved ones… but did you know February is American Heart Health Month? Let’s trade in those gummy hearts, cheesy gifts, and overpriced dinners for a much better gift, the gift of health (okay, yeah that was a wee bit cheesy, but you get my point).
One stat that will make you put those yummy sugar coated gummy hearts down is: Cardiovascular or heart disease is the leading cause of death in women AND men.
While that may come as a shock to you, don’t fret. Lifestyle changes can play a large part in reducing your risk of the disease. Below is everything you need to know to keep your heart pumping for many more Valentine’s Days to come:
First, why is heart health so important?
Heart disease is responsible for one in every four deaths in the United States-that’s more than half a million people lost to heart disease each year. On top of that, more than 700,000 Americans will have a heart attack this year.
Those might sound like alarming numbers, but our lifestyle plays a vital role in either increasing or decreasing risk. Following these few guidelines will help you reduce your risk.
The CDC recommends the following lifestyle changes to avoid any heart health complications:
· Quit smoking, including all e-cigarettes
· Maintain a healthy weight
· Eat a healthy diet and avoid trans fats whenever possible
· Move more
· Treat any other health conditions (including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes)
Awesome! Those are all great tips, but how can I incorporate those tips into my daily life?
The key is to start out slow, create a new routine, and gradually start adding things in. Start walking daily, and once that becomes a regular part of the day, begin to cut out all sugary drinks (like soda and juices) and begin to eat whole foods.
Getting up from your desk every hour, even just for a few minutes, can help decrease your risk. Our society has become very sedentary, and living in a world with desk jobs and Netflix makes it all the more important to treat your body well.
So, let’s use this month to raise awareness about the risks of heart disease and how you and your loved ones can prevent it. I challenge you to start the second half of February moving more. My goal is to hit 10,000 steps every day. What’s yours?
About the Author: Taylor Genter
Taylor is the Marketing Specialist at Extract with experience in data analytics, graphic design, and both digital and social media marketing. She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing at the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater. Taylor enjoys analyzing people’s behaviors and attitudes to find out what motivates them, and then curating better ways to communicate with them.