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Every Beat Counts In Heart Month

February 7, 2017

February is American Heart Month and the Benjamin Harrison YMCA wants to help your family get heart healthy. Here are 5 things you can do to help your heart.

Get Physical

American Heart Month is about being physically active every day and how much fun it can be to improve the function of your heart. Plan and schedule opportunities for active play; for example, include a brisk 10-minute trip around the block after meals or a 10-minute walking break during the day. If your family enjoys active video games, select versions that require moving the body’s large muscle groups while playing.

Take a Snooze

Lack of sleep can be associated with elevated cholesterol and blood pressure. Adults need at least seven, but no more than nine hours of sleep at night to aid in the prevention of heart disease. Children need 10-12 hours of sleep per night. During American Heart Month is the perfect time to develop bedtime routines for the whole family to assist with falling asleep faster and staying asleep.

Eat for your Heart

Makeover your family’s favorite recipes by reducing the amount of salt and saturated fat and substituting a lower fat food without sacrificing tastes. For example, use low-fat yogurt instead of sour cream and skip the seasoning packet and use pepper and olive oil instead. Read food labels to learn more about what is in the package, select foods that have less than 1,000 mg of sodium per serving.

Know Your Blood Pressure

Per the American Heart Association lowering or maintaining normal blood pressure can greatly reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. Nearly 1 in 3 adults (about 80 million people) has high blood pressure and more than half of them don’t have it under control. Start self-monitoring your blood pressure and know the numbers. Discuss the results with your doctor if needed.

Play Together

Spending time together as a family is a great way to reduce stress, which is important to heart health. Make homemade valentines for your children’s classmates or build a snow fort together in the yard or the park.

Cardio Fitness at the Y!

Did you know the Y offers Cardio Fitness and Cardio Strength classes? Check out our digital Group Exercise Schedule!

For more information on American Heart Month or how your family can live heart healthy, ask any of our Wellness Experts at your YMCA branch.

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