Celebrate American Heart Month this February
Did you know that people who have close relationships at home, work or in their community tend to be healthier and live longer? One reason, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), is that we’re more successful at meeting our health goals when we work on them with others.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Most middle-aged and young adults have one or more risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or being a smoker or overweight. Having multiple risk factors increases your risk for heart disease.
Business Health Trust wants to help you celebrate yourself and your heart health this February in honor of American Heart Month. Here are some heart-healthy lifestyle tips to inspire you to join with others — even if you can’t be physically together — to improve your heart health.
- Move more: Invite family, friends, colleagues, or members of your community to join you in your efforts to be more physically active. How much is enough? Aim for at least 2½ hours of physical activity each week — that’s just 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. NHLBI’s Move More fact sheet has ideas to get and keep you moving.
- Aim for a healthy weight: Find someone in your friend group, at work, or in your family who also wants to reach or maintain a healthy weight. Agree to do healthy activities, like walking or cooking a healthy meal, at the same time, even if you can’t be together. Check out NHLBI’s Aim for a Healthy Weight web page.
- Eat heart-healthy: We tend to eat like our friends and family, so ask others close to you to join in your effort to eat healthier. Follow NHLBI’s Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan, which has been shown to lower high blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels.
- Quit smoking: To help you quit, ask others for support or join an online support group. Research shows that people are much more likely to quit if their spouse, friend, or sibling does. You’ll find many free resources to help you quit, such as apps, a motivational text service, and a chat line at BeTobaccoFree.hhs.gov and Smokefree.gov.
- Reduce stress: Managing stress helps your heart health. Set goals with a friend or family member to do a relaxing activity every day, like walking, yoga, or meditation, or participate in an online stress-management program together.
- Improve sleep: Sleeping 7–9 hours a night helps to improve heart health. Instead of looking at your phone or the TV before bed, relax by listening to music, reading, or taking a bath.
- Track Your Heart Health Stats, Together: Keeping a log of your blood pressure, weight goals, physical activity, and if you have diabetes, your blood sugars, will help you stay on a heart-healthy track. Check out NHLBI’s My Heart Health Tracker.
For more inspiration, visit #OurHearts to learn what others around the country are doing together for their heart health. Then join the #OurHearts movement and let NHLBI know what you’re doing to have a healthy heart. For more information about heart health, visit www.heartttruth.gov.