Around Valentine’s Day, our thoughts turn to the heart because we think of it as the source of love – a lovely, romantic idea. However, the heart is the source of life. February is American Heart Month, so now is an excellent time to improve your cardiovascular health. Here are five ways to improve and maintain heart health:

  1. Keep moving: While any amount or style of movement is good for your heart, try to exercise at least 150 minutes a week. Fortunately, mopping, walking to the store, and dancing when your favorite song is on the radio count as exercise.
  2. Limit added sugar and unhealthy fats. Your local supermarket is bursting with delicious options for meals that are high in healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, and probiotics.
  3. Lower salt intake. The body needs some sodium to function properly. But too much can lead to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems. Seventy percent of the sodium Americans consume comes from heavily-processed foods. Eating items prepared from scratch is the best way to get less sodium in your diet.
  4. Monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure, or “The Silent Killer,” is a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, and other heart problems. Unfortunately, many people with hypertension don’t know they have it, so they aren’t treating it. Bringing down high blood pressure can require a few lifestyle choices, such as increased exercise or medications. A doctor can recommend the best approach for you.
  5. Follow doctor’s orders. Regular checkups are one of the best ways to prevent cardiovascular disease. Heart patients who stop treating their conditions are at higher risk for heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure.

The best way to show your love for family and friends is to live a long, active life. These five actions will help this .

Click here for more resources on healthy living from the American Heart Association.

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