It’s February and there is no shortage of hearts. Red ones, pink ones, paper ones…they’re everywhere. And, while they’re intended to remind us that Valentine’s Day is imminent, it’s a great opportunity to see them as a reminder of the importance of healthy heart during Heart Health Month.
The Facts in Stats
John Hopkins provides the following heart health facts:
• Approximately 84 million people in this country suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease.
• Almost one out of every three deaths results from cardiovascular disease.
• An estimated 15 million U.S. adults have coronary heart disease.
• Approximately 78 million U.S. adults have high blood pressure, and an estimated 20 million have diabetes.
• Heart failure affects well over 5 million U.S. adults.
• Cardiovascular disease is the cause of more deaths than cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases and accidents combined.
• About one-third of cardiovascular disease deaths occurred before age 75.
• Women have a higher lifetime risk of stroke than men.
However, 80 percent of heart disease and stroke can be prevented by checking and controlling risk factors. Following our five recommendations will help set you on the right path:
Eat Red Foods — Red foods like beets, cranberries, tomatoes, and strawberries support the circulatory system and can easily ﬁt in your diet. Add strawberries to Greek yogurt for breakfast, beets to your salad, tomatoes to your sandwich or enjoy a glass of 100% cranberry juice.
Get More Rest — Inadequate amounts of sleep can increase levels of the C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation and heart disease risk. Establish a bedtime routine and aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
Laugh Out Loud — Don’t underestimate the power of laughter. Research shows that aside from helping to reduce stress, laughing can lower high blood pressure by improving blood flow. Go to a comedy show or watch a funny movie and get laughing.
Listen to Music — Listening to music you enjoy has been shown to increase blood flow by 26% compared to silence. This positive effect may come from the release of endorphins—the chemicals in your brain that block pain and ease anxiety and depression. Improve your heart health by updating your music playlist.
Move for 30 Minutes Every Day — A lack of ﬁtness is the strongest predictor of death. The most important thing you can do for your heart is move for at least 30 minutes a day. Take three 10-minute movement breaks each day to feel better and help your heart.
The Time is Now
A healthy heart is essential to overall health and wellness, regardless of age. And, it’s an easily achievable goal with a little conscious effort. There’s no better time to start a heart-minded regimen than during heart health month.
Check out this guide about heart-smart movement to show you eight exercises designed to keep your heart healthy—all easily achieved in 30 minutes or less.
In partnership with EXOS, a world leader in human performance and the management company for CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center.