In honor of American Heart Month, we've collected seven practical tips to up your heart healthy lifestyle. For more heart health-related content throughout February, follow us on our social channels in the links below this post.
1. Exercise 4-5 Times a Week
We know that exercise is critical to heart health, but just how much should we be getting? New research by Dr. Benjamin Levine at UT Southwestern Medical Center demonstrates that three times a week isn’t enough. The study showed that 30-minute sessions, four to five times a week can reverse effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Read more about the study.
2. Eat Your Colors
Perhaps the best way to get the nutrients you need each day is to add more color to your plate! Click here for a printable PDF from the American Heart Association that will give you some inspiration for your next trip to the grocery store.
3. Cut Out Added Sugar
According to a 2014 study by JAMA, adults who consume 25 percent of their daily calories from added sugar are twice as likely to die from heart disease. The occasional indulgence is okay (don’t throw away that Valentine’s Day chocolate!), but it’s important to take small steps to cut out unnecessary sugar. Here are some tips for you to try.
4. No Smoking, Please
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, and almost one third of deaths from coronary heart disease are attributable to smoking and secondhand smoke. Quitting is hard, but it’s worth it. Take the first step today.
5. Learn CPR
CPR saves lives. In fact, when performed immediately it can double or even triple the chance of surviving a heart attack. Find a CPR class near your city, and watch this quick video to learn more about hands-only CPR.
6. Know Your Stress Antidotes
Managing stress is a very real component of loving your heart. Do you know what your triggers are? Do you make time for self-care every day? Get to know your stress antidotes and keep a list handy for when you need to regroup.
7. Give Back
Research shows that charitable giving and volunteering can lessen the effects of day-to-day stress, and it also releases dopamine and oxytocin, two chemicals associated with happiness and inner peace. Take a look back at our previous story on 3 Ways Giving is Good for You.