Lisa Conway – FLORIDA TODAY
Q: February is ‘Heart Month,’ right? Any tips for heart health?
A: Yes, February is American Heart Month! And the American Heart Association has a message for us: Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and it is largely preventable. It is never too late to start watching your heart health. Here’s my take on 10 suggestions from Harvard Health.
- Take at least a 10-minute walk each day. Couch potato or work-out buff, 10 minutes of daily walking will increase your heart health.
- Give yourself a lift. Pick up a hardcover book or a two-pound weight a few times a day. This can help tone your arm muscles! With time, increase the amount of weight you are lifting.
- Eat one extra daily fruit or vegetable. Fruits and veggies are fairly inexpensive, they taste good and are just plain GOOD FOR YOU — from your brain to your bowels.
- Make breakfast count. Start your day with fruit and a serving of whole grains, like oatmeal, bran flakes or whole wheat toast. This “breakfast of champions” can help lower cholesterol levels and increase your heart health.
- Stop drinking your calories. Cutting one sugary soda (or latte) per day can save 100 or more calories– or an annual weight loss of 10 pounds!
- Choose a handful of nuts. Snack attack? Nuts are packed with healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Nix the cookies and grab a handful of heart-healthy nuts. They also make a great salad topping!
- Sample the sea. Eat fish and other seafood (instead of red meat) once a week. It’s good for the heart, brain and waistline.
- Breathe deeply. Try breathing slowly and deeply for a few minutes each day. It can help you relax –and may also help lower your blood pressure.
- Wash your hands often. Frequent handwashing with soap and water during the day can protect your heart health. How? The flu, COVID, pneumonia and other infections can put strain on the heart.
- Count your blessings. Practice gratitude every day. Positive thoughts and emotions are linked to better health, longer life and greater well-being.
Friday, February 3rd is National Wear Red Day, to raise awareness for heart health. Don’t forget your red!
One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to askOSP@OneSeniorPlace.com, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging.
Lisa Conway is a Registered Nurse and a Certified Care Manager for Senior Partner Care Services, Viera.