February is American Heart Month! We talk a lot about heart health because cardiovascular disease is responsible for 1 in 4 deaths in the United States each year, and is the leading cause of death for both men and women according to the CDC. What are you doing to stay heart-healthy? We’ve identified five simple ways to improve your heart health this month!
- Ease up on the salt. Too much salt may increase your risk of hypertension, which is one of the risk factors for heart disease. Most processed foods already include too much salt, so keep the shaker at arm’s length when you’re at the table.
- Take a hot bath, listen to relaxing music, take up a creative hobby, or engage in other soothing activities that can help destress your life and lower your blood pressure.
- Stay physical! The most important advice for everyone as they age (and, in fact, anytime!) is to invest in twenty or thirty minutes of physical activity each day. This can be walking your dog, taking a water aerobics class, or riding a bike. It all counts!
- Eat more fresh vegetables and lean protein. Obesity has been linked with heart disease, so choosing a diet that’s lower in calories and higher in fresh vegetables and lean meats can help you reduce your waistline and improve your overall health.
- Get your Zzz’s. Believe it or not, not getting enough sleep can have a profound impact on your overall health, and has been known to lead to symptoms linked with heart disease like obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. Reduce your risks and clock in your eight hours each night.
Bonus: If you’re having trouble making changes to your lifestyle to improve your heart health, trying teaming up with a like-minded friend willing to make these changes together. Sometimes all we need is a little external motivation to get onto the road to better health.