It’s February, and with it comes love, romance and all things related to matters of the heart… and speaking of heart, February is also fittingly known as American Heart Month. While it houses, arguably the most passionate holiday of the year (Valentine’s day, in case you didn’t know), the American Heart Association has dedicated this month to bringing awareness to heart healthy living. So while passion and amour fill the air, it is also important to recognize the human heart as an organ vital to our health and quality of living.
This topic is near and dear to me – very recently, a beloved family member was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. What we thought was pneumonia turned out to be something much more sinister and foreboding – luckily, even if someone has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, they can still live a long and full life.
According to the American Heart Association, in 2013 over 600,000 deaths in the United States were due to diseases of the heart. This included heart disease and other cardiovascular illnesses. Heart complications have been plaguing our nation for many years, and whether the reason is due to genetics, poor diet or lifestyle, or from a myriad of other factors, it is important to start doing what you can today to take care of your heart.
Live a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle
- Exercise more.
I know this sounds cliché, but it is surprising how many people don’t get enough physical activity during the day – and with winter being particularly cold and dark, it is much easier to curl up under the blankets after a long day rather than hit the gym.
The 2008 Federal PA Guidelines recommends engaging in moderate leisure-time physical activity for at least 150 minutes per week or vigorous activity at last 75 minutes per week or an equivalent combination for adults, and sadly, approximately half of the U.S. population doesn’t get enough physical activity.
- Keep your stressors to a minimum.
This is easier said than done, but it is surprising how often adults can blow things out of the water and make mountains out of molehills. Not only does this have a massive impact on people around you and your general results in your personal and professional life, but the physical toll it has on your body can be catastrophic.
According to WebMD, stress effects everything from your endocrine system, liver, blood pressure, heart health, your immune system and more. A little stress now and then can be a good thing, but when you are stressed for prolonged periods of time, your body goes into a fight or flight mode which has an effect on your reproductive system, ability to sleep and your ability to rest and relax.
Get a massage, make time for yourself, do whatever it takes to release that stress…even if it means partaking in a little retail therapy. After all, when you are right, the world around you is right. =)
Sure, it’s OK to indulge in an ice cream cone, or to order pizza every once in a while, but making this an everyday thing can be detrimental to your health! Make eating healthy the norm and your heart will thank you for it!
- USE A SUNLIGHTEN SAUNA!! There are so many benefits to using a Sunlighten Infrared Sauna, that to write about them would mean I have to create a whole new blog. So instead, I highly recommend checking out Sunlighten Saunas fresh out of Kansas City. Some of the MANY benefits include lower blood pressure, increased blood flow and circulation, and weight loss to name a few. Personally, I’ve used Infrared saunas a lot in my day, and the effect it had on my body was astounding.
- Last but not least, remember there are no excuses! It is easy to say we don’t have enough time to exercise, or take a homemade salad to work, but if you don’t make time for health, you’ll have to make time for illness.
With heart disease being the number one cause of death in the United States, it is easy to see why it is so important that your health is at the forefront of your mind daily. It’s OK to go out and splurge a little, but it is more important to make health a habit. Wishing all you lovely people in Springfield healthy hearts!