This is the time of year you’re thinking about love, roses, and candy. If you’re into Valentine’s Day, that is.
Though I’m not anti-Valentine’s Day, I’m not all giddy about it either. A day dedicated to help people remember to show love to one another just seems so commercial. I’ll take my flowers any random day of the year, thank you. Plus, it’s not like it’s exciting going out to dinner with longer wait times as the rest of the world goes out to eat, too.
But, if we’re going to talk about matters of the heart, it makes sense that American Hearth Month is in February, doesn’t it?
Did you know over 600,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease every year?
So, let’s talk about our hearts and why we should celebrate American Heart Month!
Why aren’t we taking better care of ourselves and doing what we can to protect against heart disease? Why wouldn’t we do this not only to practice self-love, but also to make sure we’re sticking around longer for our families?
How can you celebrate American Heart Month and practice some self-love? Let’s see ….
5 Ways to Celebrate American Heart Month
As a mom who suffers with autoimmunity (Hashimoto’s Disease) and prior history of risk of heart disease, this subject hits home for me significantly. Health is at the forefront of many of my decisions on living a healthy lifestyle for my family.
After being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, I fell head first into a health nut world like I’d never have imagined I’d get into. Over the last few years, I’ve made dietary and overall lifestyle changes in an effort to improve my quality of life, with a relatively good amount of success.
Physical activity lowers your risk for certain heart disease. If it’s been a while since you’ve been active, start slow. My favorite way to get started with exercise is taking a gentle yoga class at the gym. You could also ask a coach or your physician what kind of exercises are recommended when you’re just starting out.
Not all forms of exercise have to feel like torture, either. Taking a stroll in the neighborhood or swimming can be gentle and fun.
Heck, those dance parties you have in the kitchen with the kids … that counts, too. And yes, I’ve convinced myself I’m not the only one that dances like a doofus in the kitchen… and my kids are young enough that it’s still fun for them.
Know Your Risk Factors
Aging and your sex have plenty to do with heart disease risk factors. Knowing your risks can help you to understand steps you may need to take to lower your chances of developing or exacerbating heart problems.
Get a Check Up
Celebrate American Heart Month by scheduling a check up with your doctor. Most doctors require an annual exam for insurances reasons anyway, but if it’s been a while, consider having lab work and a physical exam done.
Now is the perfect time to ask your doctor what kind of physical activity routine he/she would suggest if you’re just getting started.
Lowering your intake of fat, salt, sugar and cholesterol are standard suggestions for reducing risks of cardiovascular disease.
Want to know an extremely easy way to reduce your intake of ALL those bad things at once? Cook at home more often for a healthier diet.
Though I can’t locate information to prove this, from personal experience, after having gone Gluten and Dairy Free, my lipid panels have been in range for a few years. I no longer have doctors telling me I need to be on statin drugs to lower my cholesterol. And, if we’re being honest, I don’t have much willpower when it comes to junk food and sweets. And yeah, I eat burgers a lot!
But, at the same time, we cook at home (and little to know boxed or pre-made foods) about 5 nights a week, so there is that. One of my favorite ways to eat healthier was discussed in my PlateJoy Review!
What does stress and heart health have to to with one another?
Well, stress is toxic to our bodies. But, stress can increase blood pressure directly. Indirectly, stress can lead to unhealthy habits like making poor food choices, smoking, physical inactivity, and/or overeating.
By reducing stress, you can reduce your cardiovascular disease risk factors, and it doesn’t take a whole lot.
Did you know that 6 minutes of reading a day can reduce stress by 68 percent?
Other ways to reduce stress can include exercising, finding a healthy hobby, reducing caffeine intake, getting more sleep, and letting go of unimportant items on a to-do list.
Want a good way to reduce stress? Visit a spa for a massage or other relaxing service. Right now, Save 12% off on Spa & Wellness Gift Cards by Spa Week valued at $25+ Use Code:HeartHealth12