Did you know that February is American Heart Month? In honor of the occasion, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska invites you to check out these tips to keep your heart healthy:
Physical activity is essential for heart health. Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking or yard work, weekly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Other activities that check this box include dancing, swimming, biking and anything that gets you breathing hard and your heart pumping faster.
Need motivation? Signing up for a local race can give you a goal to work toward.
Maintain a healthy diet
Fruits and vegetables are packed with essential nutrients, low in calories and full of fiber. Adding more whole foods to your meals is an easy way to help maintain a heart-healthy diet, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Pro tip: Keep already-prepped fruits and veggies in your fridge to enjoy as a quick snack on the go. Plus, look for recipes featuring fresh produce to incorporate more colorful, healthy choices into your diet.
Swap out the soda
According to the CDC, sugary drinks like soda can increase your heart disease risk. Swap out soda for water and add a slice of lemon, lime or cucumber if you’re missing that flavor.
Additionally, drinking alcohol in moderation (two drinks a day for men and one for women) can help limit your risk of heart disease, according to the CDC.
Maintain a healthy weight
Keeping your weight in a healthy range helps prevents numerous conditions, including heart disease. To maintain a healthy weight, it’s important to stay active and eat a balanced diet. You can – and should – enjoy the salty snacks and decadent desserts you love. Just remember to enjoy them in moderation and fill your diet with plenty of fresh foods, whole grains and lean proteins.
Everyone knows smoking is bad for your lungs, but did you know it’s also bad for your heart? One in four deaths related to cardiovascular disease is caused by smoking, according to the CDC. If you use tobacco, kick it to the curb to lower your risk and protect your heart health.
Keep your stress under control
Mental and physical health go hand-in-hand. If you’re struggling with depression, anxiety or another condition, your overall well-being may be impacted. In fact, mental health conditions can lead to a number of heart problems, including increased blood pressure, reduced blood flow to the heart and irregular heart rate, according to the American Medical Association.
Taking care of yourself by maintaining healthy sleep habits, spending time with loved ones and staying active can help you manage your stress. If you’re struggling, reach out to your doctor for support.
Know your history
Knowing your health history and risks helps you know what actions you can take to lower your risk for certain conditions.
Talk to your doctor and family about your health history and what behaviors lower and increase your risks.
For more articles like this, visit Health and Wellness.