5 Ways to Improve Your Heart Health
Evidence suggests that over the past two years, many people have adopted unhealthy behaviors. These include skipping exercise, eating unhealthy foods, drinking more alcohol and using tobacco – all of which can increase the risk for heart disease and stroke.
What’s more, people who had mild cases of COVID-19 may have changes to their heart and brain health because of their encounter with the virus. This February during American Heart Month, the American Heart Association (AHA) is urging everyone to create healthy habits that work best for their life, because losing even one mom, brother, friend, or neighbor to heart disease is one too many.
“Reclaim control of your schedule and build in time to invest in a healthier you,” said AHA President Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Sc.M., FAHA. Using the theme for this year’s American Heart Month, “Reclaim Your Rhythm,” AHA suggests five ways to create healthy habits:
- Mellow out and reduce stress: Stress can lead to depression or anxiety, as well as unhealthy habits like overeating, physical inactivity, smoking and risk factors for heart disease and stroke like high blood pressure. Calming music can help reduce stress.
- Move to the music: Create a playlist that will get listeners moving and grooving. Staying active is one of the best ways to keep body and mind healthy. Physical activity is linked to lower risk of diseases, stronger bones and muscles, improved mental health and cognitive function and lower risk of depression.
- Feed your soul, rock your recipes: The meaning of “family” may have changed, but family meals still make an impact. Regular meals at home with family can help reduce stress, boost self-esteem and make the whole family feel connected.
- Stay on beat with your blood pressure: High blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. It also can contribute to worse outcomes for people who contract COVID-19. The best way to know your blood pressure numbers is to have it measured at least once per year by a healthcare professional. If your blood pressure is normal and you are at least 20 years of age, regularly monitor it at home with a validated monitor and discuss the numbers with a doctor.
- Keep the Beat! Learn hands-only CPR: When a person has a cardiac arrest, survival depends on immediately receiving CPR from someone nearby. CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival. Help your community reclaim their rhythm by learning the two simple steps of hands-only CPR: Call 911, then press hard and fast in the center of the chest. Visit www.heart.org/handsonlycpr to learn more and watch an instructional video and share it with the important people in your life.
Source: American Heart Association.