The month of February has flown right by and you may have missed the fact that it was American Heart Month: Bringing awareness about preventing cardiovascular disease and encouraging people to live heart healthy lives.
Even if you consider yourself fit and healthy it’s a great time to check-in with your health. Heart disease is the number #1 killer of men and women in the United States and can often go undetected. None of us like to think about it but cardiovascular issues can affect anyone at any time— even those who are seemingly fit and healthy.
Despite the fact I play sports, work out and maintain a healthy enough diet I have had pre- hypertensive blood pressure for years, likely due to genetics. It’s not something I like to admit, but I do take it seriously and work to monitor my blood pressure and make small changes to stay heart healthy.
As Heart Month wraps up, it’s all too easy to tuck its message away with the millions of other things we need to do. But it’s crucial to make healthy choices and manage your health proactively ALL year round!
For most of us were not talking a major health overhaul here. It’s simply prioritizing yourself and making small, easy changes which go a long way towards keeping your ticker happy and healthy.
Along with knowing your family health history the path to a healthy heart really is as easy as 1-2-3:
1- Maintain a Nutrient Rich Diet
The American Heart Association recommends a diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats and whole grains to help maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
This can sound intimidating but cleaning up your diet is easier than it might seem.
Scoping out nutrition labels on the food you buy to cut down on sodium, added sugars and saturated fats is a good first step to a healthy diet!
If you’re not a huge fan of vegetables (like me!) smoothies and mixed salads are a tasty way to sneak them into your diet. Double bonus if your kids will eat them too!
2- Get (and Keep!) Moving
The benefits of moderate exercise just 30 minutes a day are endless and include helping manage your blood pressure and reduce coronary heart disease by 30-40%.
Along with these obvious health benefits, being active also gives your energy levels a boost, reduces stress, helps you fall asleep and increases your confidence. Moms need more of ALL of this!
Don’t think you have time or know where to start? Keep it simple. Get outside for a daily walk or find a fun, new exercise program at your local community center.
Find more tips on starting out: Let’s Get Physical- 5 Easy Ways to Get Active
Grabbing a friend to join you is a great way to stay motivated and keep you excited about being active. You’re more likely to keep moving by holding each other accountable PLUS you get to socialize at the same time!
3- Schedule (and Go To) Your Annual Checkup
Since many symptoms of cardiovascular issues are silent, it’s important to go for your annual check-up to monitor your heart health. Being proactive and discovering warning signs early can go a long way towards leading a long healthy life!
The American Heart Association estimates that 80% of cardiac events and strokes can be prevented with education and action. Thankfully for us busy moms, taking care of your heart is as easy as making these small changes to your lifestyle. The rewards of taking these steps are priceless!
Visit the Go Red for Women site for more heart healthy eating tips, recommended daily serving sizes and how to read nutrition labels. Go Red For Women inspires women to make lifestyle changes, mobilize communities and shape policies to save lives.
What are some of your favorite ways to squeeze in vegetables or a quick workout each day?