February is not only the month of love and affection but also American Heart Month with today being National Wear Red Day. The purpose is to create awareness for and fight against heart disease, which is the number one killer of women. Did you know that more women die of heart disease than all forms of cancer combined? As alarming as the statistics and numbers are, it proves that it is essential not only for women but also for men to take proper care of themselves and actively try to live a healthy lifestyle.
The American Heart Association offers great advice on their website on different ways to improve heart health as part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Here are a few notables:
• Nutrition is the number one way to fight against heart disease. Nutrients are vital and a well-balanced diet is the key to getting the proper amounts. Start making small changes in your diet and take steps to learn how to cook healthy recipes at home and make smarter choices when dining out with friends or family. Visit the AHA’s Nutrition Center online to find recipes and advice on smart shopping.
• Physical activity and weight management are also necessary for a healthy heart. Get moving! 30 minutes a day is all it takes to help reduce your risk of heart disease. As hard as it can be to get on the exercise bandwagon, you’ll feel better and your quality of life will improve. Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any kind of exercise program. There are also plenty of low-impact options like yoga and water aerobics for people who may struggle with mobility issues.
• Quit smoking! This speaks for itself.
• LOL—literally. In many cases, laughter really is the best medicine so remember to do it! Stress management is key to reducing heart disease and healthy habits are another weapon that fights against stress. Stress affects everyone differently but everyone can agree it can be physically and emotionally debilitating. If you can’t laugh away some of your stress, you need to get to the root of the stress and focus on ways to cope with it or eliminate the source of it altogether.