Love Your Heart Month

By Lupina Fry, Wellness Nurse

The month of February is famous for the celebration of Love. It’s a time to celebrate relationships with family, friends, spouses, and connections that make life worthwhile. We spend time finding the right gift to show our appreciation of those relationships. However, we often forget one of the most important relationships—the one we have with ourselves. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t serve those we love.

Love Your Heart month is an opportunity to care for yourself. One of the first and easiest ways to do this is to be aware of what you eat. Food is, after all, important medicine. Eating well-balanced meals with an eye toward fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, and whole grains, avoiding red meats in favor of fish and
chicken, is essential to protecting your heart. Avoid excessive sweets as well as fatty and fried foods. Choose healthy oils for cooking and in your salads and avoid using butter and excess salt.

Getting enough exercise may be a bit more of a challenge but easy to achieve simply by walking. The American Heart Association suggests you participate in 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. A good test of whether the activity is moderate, is to try the “walkie-talkie” test. If you can talk while exercising but are unable to sing, that’s considered a moderate activity. A good 30–40-minute moderate intensity workout a few times a week can include a brisk walk, dancing, swimming, or yoga. If exercise
isn’t already part of your routine, start slowly and work steadily towards that 150-minute goal.

Sufficient sleep, exercise, healthy food, friendship, and peace of mind are necessities, not luxuries.” Mark Halperin

Lastly, make sure you know your numbers. It’s important to be aware of your cholesterol levels, your weight, and your blood pressure. Make sure your blood pressure is under control. High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer” because it can exhibit no symptoms and still damage your heart, arteries,
and other organs. Check your blood pressure often and work with your doctor to make improvements. When armed with knowledge about your health, you can make the improvements needed to love your heart and enjoy a healthier you.

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