February is American Heart Month

Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the month of February, and what better gift is there to give yourself and the people closest to you than a healthy heart and lifestyle? This month also is known as American Heart Month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.

Here are some things you can do to improve your heart health and your overall well-being.

  • Go to the doctor for regular check-ups. Many people mistakenly think they only need to go to the doctor when they don’t feel well. However, going to the doctor regularly for a routine check-up may actually save your life. Preventive care can help the doctor to catch many underlying health problems you may not be aware of, such as high blood pressure.
  • Exercise often. If you aren’t an active person, start by doing moderate exercise three times a week for 15 minutes. As you become more active, increase your exercise time to 30 minutes and then eventually to 60 minutes. Ask your doctor what type of exercise is best for you based on your particular health goals.
  • Stop smoking. If you currently are a smoker, stop! Quitting smoking could potentially decrease your risk of heart disease and strokes by nearly 50%.
  • Make changes to your diet. Try to cook at least three dinners at home each week. Eating out at restaurants and snacking throughout the day can lead to a lot of unnecessary pounds and stress on your heart. Look for healthy alterations you can make to your favorite recipes by cutting back on sodium and extra calories.
  • Take all medications as prescribed. If you are currently taking pills for high blood pressure, for example, make sure that you take the correct dosage every day.

Small changes to your daily routine could potentially do wonders when it comes to your overall heart health and well-being.