Activities to do in February for Heart Health Month
Did you know that February is considered Heart-Health Month? It’s a month to bring awareness to the number one killer in the United States- Heart Disease. Age, genetics, and health history can all play a part in heart health risks.
However, knowing what you can change to help combat and prevent heart disease is key. To show support of Heart-Health Month, making these positive lifestyle activities will help motivate you to take care of your heart, promote self-care, and improve your health and well-being.
Read Next: The Guy’s Guide to Preventive Health
1. Eat Healthy All Month
Challenge yourself to eat healthily and stop drinking alcohol for the entire month of February. Alcohol consumption can increase the risk of heart disease. Try detoxing from your glass of wine this month. Avoid alcohol and eat healthy this month by limiting the saturated and trans fats, and high sodium in your diet.
Heart-Check Certified Foods
Incorporate protein and vegetables and try to eliminate high-starch carbs that contain sugar. Did you know that there are “Heart-Check Certified” foods in the grocery store to help you choose the right foods to shop for? These Heart-Check foods are certified by the American Heart Association and have a symbol on the packaging, so they can be easily identified with a red heart and white checkmark. These Heart-Check foods go through an extensive process to determine if they comply with the five coronary heart disease regulations and food categories, which help the fight against heart disease.
Along with “Heart-Check Certified” foods, there are also “Red Foods” that supports the circulatory system and can easily fit in your diet. Red foods such as beets, strawberries, tomatoes, or cranberries. These nutritious red foods can be part of your breakfast, such as adding strawberries to high protein Greek yogurt. You can also add beets or tomatoes in your salad, or have a glass of 100% cranberry juice to incorporate these “Red Foods”.
2. Wear Red for Heart Health Awareness
Prevention is power and the color red is powerful. Did you know that premature heart attacks are preventable? It’s true, and that is why we need to spread awareness. Red is a strong statement color, but when worn for a cause or to raise awareness, it speaks volumes. Put on your red lipstick, red hat, or red shirt on, and get out there to show the city that you are spreading awareness for Heart Disease. Red looks good on you!
Wearing red doesn’t have to be for just one day, you can wear it all month long! You can turn your red outfit into a fun activity by posting a photo of yourself on social media, or making a video clip of why you’re wearing red and talk about why you support Heart Health.
3. Start a New Fitness Routine
The most important thing you can do for your heart is to kick off the month by moving your body for at least 30 minutes a day. You can take three 10-minute motivation breaks to help make you feel better, while you’re helping your heart. Need motivation? Blast your favorite song, get outside, and breathe the fresh air. Take a short walk, and keep moving.
Even small amounts of fitness activities such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator are something big! Complete a fitness activity each day and create a routine. Exercise is good for your heart health and maintaining a fitness routine is key to combating heart disease.
Try incorporating these ten subtle changes to your normal daily routine to get more exercise every day.
- Do squats or lunges at your workstation
- Swap out your chair for an exercise ball
- Use the stairs instead of the escalator
- Park further away from the entrance to add in some extra steps
- While you are on the treadmill, add an incline to burn more calories
- Try planks instead of sit-ups or crunches for your core body workout
- Try pushups instead of bicep curls, working more muscles at the same time
- Break up cardio with a HIIT workout or any interval workout
- Take a walk during your lunch break rather than sitting the whole time
- Look into yoga or a group exercise class with your friends or family
Rest is Best
Taking up a new fitness routine also means getting more rest. Have you heard of the saying, “Rest is Best”? It sure is. Sleep helps your muscles recover, improves your immune system, and recharges your brain. Inadequate amounts of sleep can increase a protein called C-reactive, which can result in inflammation or heart disease. There are sleep apps you can download that help track your sleep habits. Aiming for at least 7-9 hours of sleep will benefit your physical and mental health in many ways.
Need some tips for better sleep?
- Try sleeping in complete darkness;
- Set your room temperature to a comfortable 68 degrees;
- Turn off all electronics and do not watch television in bed. Only use your bed for sleeping;
- Create a bedtime routine, such as meditating before bed. This will relieve the stress and worry from your mind. Practice focusing your mind on the “now”, and not the past or future.
4. Laugh Out Loud
Did you know that laughter is medicine for your heart? Never underestimate the power of laughter. Laughter brings joy and happiness and is good for your well-being. Laughing can also lower high blood pressure, by improving the blood flow in your body. Has it been a while since you had a good belly laugh? Try watching a comedy show, a funny movie, GIFs, or watch funny skits on YouTube.
5. Get Involved: Find an Event
Connect with a Heart Disease Awareness Organization or check out the American Heart Association to find a Heart Walk in your city. You can click on “Get Involved” and select the “Find an Event in Your Area”.
A healthy heart is essential for your well-being. Heart disease prevention starts with making some better choices and incorporating healthy habits. By changing up your routine this month with these inspiring activities, you are doing your heart a favor.
Happy Heart Health Month!