This February, we celebrate Valentine’s Day and heart health month by asking a question. “Can love help reduce your risk for heart disease?”

While love can have many meanings, we define it here as a connection to another person rooted in trust, respect, kindness and affection. So let’s look at how love can be good for your heart.

Aerobic Exercises

Aerobic exercises such as brisk walking, cycling, dancing, and playing an active sport improve circulation while also lowering your blood pressure and heart rate. Having someone in your life to exercise with and encourage you increases the odds that you’ll keep active. 

Stress Management

Finding healthy ways to cope with stress is crucial to your heart’s health. The people in your life who love you provide an emotional support system to help you manage. As a bonus, oxytocin (nicknamed the love hormone because it’s affiliated with affection) is known to reduce stress and anxiety.

Heart-Healthy Lifestyle

People who care about you will support your heart-healthy goals, like watching your weight, keeping up with your medical needs, or helping you quit smoking.

They can motivate, or better yet, join you, in eating a heart-healthy diet of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean meats. And they can gently nudge you to limit unhealthy choices like food high in sodium, sugar and saturated fat.

Whether a romantic partner, close friend or family member, the people in your life who love you play an essential role in your fight against heart disease.

Remember that your friends at the West Philadelphia Senior Community Center are also here to help with nutritious meals and a breadth of programs and services.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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