Tips and Programs During Heart Month
February is American Heart Month, and with recently published research indicating blood pressure control has worsened in both men and women since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to use this month to get a blood pressure screening and focus on becoming heart healthy. Below are tips for everyone to become heart-healthy this February.
- Get Moving: Being physically active every day is not only fun but can also improve your heart’s function. Plan and schedule opportunities for active play; for example, include a brisk 10-minute trip around the block after meals or a 10-minute walking break during the day.
- Rest up: Lack of sleep can be associated with elevated cholesterol and blood pressure. Adults need at least seven but no more than nine hours of sleep at night to aid with the prevention of heart disease. Children need 10-12 hours of sleep per night. Develop bedtime routines to assist with falling asleep faster and staying asleep.
- Revamp your Recipes: Makeover your favorite recipes by reducing the amount of salt and saturated fat and substituting a lower-fat food without sacrificing tastes. For example, use low-fat yogurt instead of sour cream, skip the seasoning packet, and use pepper and olive oil. Read food labels to learn more about what is in the package, and select foods with less than 1,000 mg of sodium per serving.
- Check your Pressure: Revised blood pressure guidelines from the American Heart Association mean that nearly half of all Americans (46 percent) have high blood pressure. Lowering or maintaining normal blood pressure can greatly reduce your heart disease and stroke risk. Start self-monitoring your blood pressure and know the numbers. Discuss the results with your doctor if needed. (Sign up for the Hood College Million Hearts Initiative!)
- Quality Time: Spending time with family or friends is a great way to reduce stress, which is important to heart health. Make homemade valentines for your children’s classmates or your closest fitness friends at the Y!