Did you know that February is American Heart Month?

We may not think about our heart health very often, but it should be at the top of our list!

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, responsible for about one in four deaths.

We need to be extra careful when it comes to caring for our hearts, and educate ourselves on how to make small lifestyle changes to improve our overall health and wellbeing. Here are a few tips for keeping your heart healthy!

  1. Eat healthier meals – This seems to be the answer to most of our physical problems, or at least a good place to start. Cut out trans and saturated fats, tone down salt intake and opt for fresh fruits and vegetables over processed and refined foods. The American Heart Association has great recipes to fit your tastes and budget, so start by searching there and then branch out.
  2. Get moving! – You’re at a greater risk of heart disease if you don’t get much physical activity, so starting some kind of exercise regimen, especially aerobic exercise, is crucial! There’s an exercise for every fitness level, schedule and budget. Try taking a walk during your lunch break, biking on the weekend or going for a swim if you have access to a pool.
  3. Say goodbye to smoking – If you’re a smoker, you’re putting yourself at a high risk for heart disease. About one in five deaths from heart disease can be directly tied to smoking. The best thing you can do for your heart is stop smoking.
  4. Relieve some stress on the cheap – You can reduce your chance of heart troubles by relieving some of the stress in your life. Try setting aside your phone for a while to read a book or do a beginner’s yoga class online. And make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep!

Some of these changes may take some getting used to in the beginning, but in the long run these tips are worth the effort. Not only will healthy eating, activity and  healthier lifestyle choices benefit your heart, but they’re great for your overall health.

Small steps and healthy choices can mean more energy during the day, better sleep, fewer times getting sick and even a longer life. A healthier lifestyle will bring positivity and improve all aspects of your life!  All is within your power with hard work and planning.

This American Heart Month, try using some of these lifestyle changes to put your health first so you can start tackling all of life’s challenges!