It’s that time of year when hearts and flowers reign and pictures of cupids are commonplace. During the month of February, National Heart Month, the media will feature celebrities reciting the warning signs of heart attacks and promoting weight loss products.
One might say that a healthy heart is the result of a balanced life, reflecting a state of physical and emotional well-being. Here are just a few tips to keep in mind all year long, including some helpful tips from the American Heart Association (www.heart.org).
- Have at least 150 minutes of exercise a week to help keep your heart healthy. Break it up to fit your schedule! Try walking, an easy and effective way to add activity to your daily schedule.
- Eat foods that are high in “good fats” such as olive and vegetable oils, salmon, trout, unsalted nuts, avocados and sunflower seeds, and limit foods that are high in saturated fat and trans fat such as fatty meats like burgers, chicken with skin, fried foods, cream sauces, butter and full-fat dairy products.
- Eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Fruits and vegetables are sources of heart-healthy vitamins and minerals. Avoid fruits with added sugar.
- Buy fat free or reduced fat milk and cheeses.
- Quit smoking. Smoking alone increases risk for coronary heart disease. A variety of resources are available to help you quit, such as the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org), and the American Lung Association (www.lungusa.org).
While National Heart Month tends to focus more on the physical heart, your “emotional heart” is equally important. We all feel sad and lonely sometimes, and this can be especially common in older adults. Use these tips to care for your “emotional heart” and increase your feelings of self-love and happiness.
- Find a support system. Family members, friends or neighbors that you can go to for help, and talk to if you are feeling down.
- Join a mall walking club, or join a local gym or senior center, and participate in the group fitness classes.
- Schedule time to go to lunch or play cards with friends.
- Pick up some inside hobbies, especially during the winter months. Do puzzles, read, sew or do crafts. Don’t just sit and watch TV, it is important to keep your brain active.
- Make “positive self-talk” a part of your daily life. Affirm your attempts, say things like “I’ll do the best I can,” instead of “I can’t do this.”
So get to the “Heart of the Matter” – the matter of your well-being and celebrate National Heart Month by making some heart healthy changes to your lifestyle.
For more information on how Liberty at Home can help you improve both your physical and emotional heart health, contact Dana O’Donnell at 215-643-6335 ext. 147.
Did National Heart Month encourage you to make any changes toward a more heart healthy lifestyle?