February is not just the month of love. It’s also Heart Health Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about cardiovascular health. Riverwood Healthcare Center is taking this opportunity to share some practical tips for maintaining a strong heart. Nutrition, exercise and stress management all play a role in promoting cardiovascular well-being.
The importance of heart health
Your heart is a powerful muscle that tirelessly pumps blood, providing oxygen and nutrients to every part of your body. Taking care of your heart is essential for preventing heart disease, the leading cause of death globally. February serves as a reminder to prioritize your cardiovascular well-being and adopt heart-healthy habits.
Practical tips for a stronger heart
Follow the tips below for lifestyle activities that can help you improve your heart health.
- Regular exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity is one of the best ways to keep your heart healthy. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (brisk walking, riding a bike, dancing) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (running, swimming laps, playing basketball) per week.
- Balanced nutrition: A heart-healthy diet can significantly impact your cardiovascular well-being. Focus on eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Reduce your intake of saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars. Consider cooking foods with olive oil, and eating more nuts, fish and other heart-healthy choices.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight can strain your heart and increase the risk of heart disease. Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and regular exercise can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
- Quit smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease. If you smoke, quitting is one of the most significant steps you can take to improve your heart health. Seek support from friends, family or professionals to quit smoking and enjoy the benefits of a smoke-free life.
- Manage stress: Chronic stress can negatively impact your heart health. Work stress-reducing activities into your daily routine, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises or yoga. Taking time for self-care and finding healthy ways to cope with stress is crucial for a strong and resilient heart.
Nurse Practitioner Tyler Zuk of Riverwood’s McGregor Clinic comments: “Taking care of your heart is crucial for a long and healthy life. By exercising regularly, maintaining a balanced diet, achieving a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and managing stress, we can take significant steps toward embracing heart-healthy habits and pave the way for a longer, more vibrant life.”
An annual exam, where your blood pressure and other vital signs get monitored, can help you stay on track with your heart health. For an appointment with a primary care provider, call Riverwood at 218-927-2157.