I’m sure some of you know that February is American Heart Month. And if you didn’t know, now you do! We all need to know how to keep our hearts healthy!
But first, a few fun facts about your heart!
- The size of your heart is about the size of your fist
- Your heart pumps 1.5 gallons of blood each minute
- Your heart beats about 100,000 times per day
- A woman’s heart is smaller than a man’s but it beats faster.
- Your heart will work harder than any other muscle in your body in a lifetime
- It only takes about 16 seconds for blood to be pumped from the heart to the toes and then back up to the heart
If your heart can do all of that and more, don’t you think we should take care of it and keep it healthy so we can live long and healthy lives? I certainly do!
So how do we take care of our hearts? Well, let me tell you!
- Get active! Just 30 minutes of physical activity 5-7 days a week can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. It is also a great to boost your mood and relieve stress. Your heart is a muscle and it needs exercise to help keep it fit so that it can pump blood efficiently around your body. Without regular physical activity, the body slowly loses its strength, stamina and ability to function well.
- Eat your fruits and veggies! Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber – and they’re low in calories. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables may help you control your weight and blood pressure. Healthy foods are the fuel our bodies use to make new cells and create the energy we need to survive and fight diseases.
- Limit the salt! Too much salt in our diets can increase blood pressure. Salt makes your body hold on to water. If you eat too much salt, the extra water stored in your body raises your blood pressure. So, the more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure. And the higher your blood pressure, the greater the strain on your heart, arteries, kidneys and brain.
- Relax! Stress happens! It is not what the circumstances are that affect our health, it is how we respond to them. When we’re under a lot of stress, our body ramps up adrenaline, which can overwork our hearts and cause high blood pressure or hypertension.
- Get some sleep! Sleep is when our body relaxes, reboots and recovers, which is important for all aspects of our health, not just the heart. When you’re asleep, your heart rate and blood pressure go down, and gives your heart a much-needed break.
- Eat healthy fats! What are the healthy fats? Omega-3-fattys acids and unsaturated fats are considered the “good” fats and help decrease cholesterol and heart disease. Omega-3-fatty acids are the superfast for the heart and brain. These healthy fats help protect the heart and support overall health.
- Stop smoking! Smoking actually damages your entire circulatory system, and increases your risk for coronary heart disease, hardened arteries, aneurysm and blood clots. A year after giving up smoking, your risk of a heart attack falls to about half that of a smoker.
Did you know? 80% of heart disease can be prevented by lifestyle choices! So start making those choices today! Your heart will be thanking you!
Since February is heart awareness month and Valentine’s Day is around the corner, here are a few ways positive emotions are good for you heart!
- Laughter makes blood flow more freely
- Hugs release oxytocin and removes stress from the body
- When you meet someone your heart goes crazy for, your heart gets a workout
- Spending time with a loved one lowers blood pressure
- Holding hands calms nerves
- A positive attitude lowers the risks of heart attack
But don’t just take advantage of these on Valentine’s Day – these are great for everyday!
Dr. Jessica Stensland is a busy family wellness Chiropractor in Urbandale, Iowa. She spends her weeks taking care of dozens of families. Not only does Dr. Jessica specialize in pediatric and pregnancy chiropractic care, but she’s a board certified Acupuncturist. Dr. Jessica believes that a healthier community means taking care of all ages. She is a Minnesota native and enjoys seeing family and friends in her free time, in addition to staying active and reading the many books she has on her kindle.