By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation
Our hearts work hard for us non-stop our entire life. Unfortunately, cardiovascular disease remains one of the leading causes of death in both men and women here in the United States. Therefore, we need to show our hearts some TLC to ensure a long, healthy life. The American Heart Association celebrates American Heart Month during the entire month of February. Here are eight great tips for staying heart healthy:
- Hearts Don’t Dig Cigs! No level of smoking is safe, and the risk of a heart attack rises with every cigarette smoked daily. As soon as you quit you reduce your risk of heart attack, though it takes several years to undo most of the cardiovascular damage. Avoid secondhand smoke, too. Everyone has the right to clean air and breathing healthy leads to living happy.
- Catch Some ZZZ’s! Sleep could be the key to unlocking a healthier you. The amount and quality of sleep can influence eating habits, mood, memory, internal organs and more. Aim for lucky number 7! Getting at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night can lead to a healthier heart.
- Monitor your cholesterol and blood pressure regularly.
- Stay in Control when it comes to blood sugar levels. Also, cut back on sodium and alcohol consumption.
- Eat for Your Heart by adopting a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.
- Move More by staying active and incorporating brisk walks or do other aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes most days; more is even better!
- Mental Health Matters! Do what you can to treat depression and reduce stress. Being chronically depressed may increase your risk for a heart attack. Do not think that it is normal to feel low or miserable most of the time. It may seem easier said than done, but don’t sweat the small stuff and find ways to cope with stressful situations like yoga, meditation or exercise.
- Know your Family Tree! Some genetic traits are not as obvious as others and the biggest mistake is not talking about your family’s health history. Knowledge is power, and you can help eliminate health risks by knowing.
Whether instilling healthy habits in children or adopting healthier lifestyles as adults, our hearts will thank us! For more tips on heart health including recipes, screenings and fitness, visit the American Heart Association at www.heart.org
Healthy lifestyles is just one of more than 30 topics offered at Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® recognized as the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America. In 2019, the program is celebrating 25 years with more than 400 events planned in rural communities. For more information or to locate a Safety Day near you, visit www.progresiveag.org or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529. Help send another child to a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® with a modest donation of only $13 by texting the word “SAFETYDAY” to 41444 or visiting progressiveag.org/Donate.