The month of February is filled with the theme of love and hearts; why not, it is the month that we celebrate Valentine’s Day. Every where we turn we see red hearts, heart shaped boxes of candy, small heart candies with words like “I love you”. Christmas decorations have been replaced by heart flags adorning neighbors’ yards and doors. Retail stores have red heart decorations in their windows; jewelry stores are advertising diamond heart pendants; bakeries have a great supply of cookies cut from heart-shaped cookie cutters, frosted with fancy red and white frosting. Even dogs may be sporting collars with red hearts.
Yet the heart that really matters is the one that keeps us going 365 days of the year. This is why the American Heart Association designates February as American Heart Month. With so many hearts around us it is the perfect reminder that we all need to take care of our own hearts and those of the people we love. According to the American Heart Association, the facts are clear; more women die of heart disease than all forms of cancer combined. The website WebMD says that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. , which is why it is important to learn about your heart to help prevent heart disease.
That’s the bad news; the good news is that even if you have heart disease you can learn to live a healthier, more active life.
Among the list of things we can do to avoid being sidelined is to get up and move! Indoors or better yet, outdoors in the fresh air of Vermont. There is a wide range of activities to enjoy throughout the winter; Alpine skiing, riding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ice skating are just a few of the winter sports that are easily accessible and will give your heart a beneficial workout. Go at your own speed; start slow at a comfortable level. Take a lesson to get the basics or for a refresher.
If you’d prefer to stay inside, how about Rock Climbing in Rutland or take a Cardio Class at Pyramid Holistic Wellness Center or a Yoga Class at your favorite studio. The American Heart Association says that yoga can be used to improve heart health as a preventive measure. It can help lower blood pressure, increase lung capacity, improve respiratory function and heart rate, and boost circulation and muscle tone; improve your overall well-being while offering strength-building benefits.
Improving heart health can be a family activity too. Encourage the kids (and adults) to take a break from the computer. If you are interested in additional information about how to help your family get active and healthy, visit Let’sMove.gov; the official site to learn about ‘America’s Move to Raise a Healthier Generation of Kids!’ The website is packed full of healthy ideas for the entire family.
Being active is just a part of the key to heart health; yet it is the part that can be the most fun if you find the right activity and do it with friends and family.
February is American Heart Month, so why not take a February break and get moving in the right direction! Head to an activity that will be fun for you; the one that you think or know in your heart you will love! Have fun!!