Every Month is Heart Month at the Passavant Community Posted on February 23, 2023March 8, 2023 February is American Heart Month, a time when all people can focus on their cardiovascular health. Lutheran SeniorLife strives to provide an abundant life for all of its residents. At the Passavant Community Abundant Life Center, residents engage in the daily health and wellness programs in support of a healthy lifestyle. For example, regular physical fitness has become part of the daily lifestyle for Passavant residents, Donna Fredrick, Kathi Peters, Nancy Smith, and Harriet Moyer. These residents take advantage of the aerobic exercise classes and personal training offered at the Abundant Life Center led by exercise specialist, Chad Ifft. In support of Heart Month, these residents showed their heart during a recent training session to raise awareness of living a heart-healthy lifestyle. Tips for a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Heart disease is a leading cause of death worldwide, but the good news is that it is preventable and manageable through lifestyle changes. A heart-healthy lifestyle involves making healthy choices in your diet, physical activity, stress management, and other habits. Here are some tips to help you adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle and reduce your risk of heart disease. Eat a healthy diet A healthy diet is essential for a healthy heart. The Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats such as olive oil, has been shown to be particularly beneficial for heart health. Aim to eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, which are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that protect against heart disease. Whole grains provide fiber and help control blood sugar levels. Choose lean protein sources such as fish, poultry, and beans, and limit processed meats, which are high in unhealthy fats and sodium. Get regular physical activity Physical activity is an important part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, each week. Mix it up with a variety of activities, including resistance training, to keep your body challenged. Exercise can lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and reduce stress, all of which contribute to a healthy heart. Manage stress Stress can have a negative impact on your heart health, so it’s important to find ways to manage it. Consider practices such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, deep breathing, or progressive muscle relaxation to help you relax and reduce stress levels. Exercise and social support can also be helpful in managing stress. Quit smoking Smoking is a major cause of heart disease, and quitting is one of the best things you can do for your heart health. If you smoke, quitting is the single most important step you can take to improve your heart health. Talk to your doctor about nicotine replacement therapy or other medications that can help you quit smoking. Limit alcohol Excessive alcohol consumption is a risk factor for heart disease. If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. If you don’t drink, there is no need to start. Maintain a healthy weight Being overweight or obese increases your risk of heart disease. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular physical activity can help you reduce your risk. If you need help, talk to your doctor about a weight management program that is right for you. Get enough sleep Getting enough sleep is important for a healthy heart. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you have trouble sleeping, try to establish a regular sleep routine, avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, and avoid screens (such as computers and phones) for at least an hour before bedtime. Control your blood pressure High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. You can control your blood pressure by eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and limiting alcohol consumption. If your blood pressure is high, your doctor may prescribe medication to help lower it. Adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle can help you reduce your risk of heart disease and improve your overall health. These tips are a great starting point, but it’s important to work with your doctor to develop a personalized plan that meets your specific needs and health goals. With a few simple changes, you can enjoy a long, healthy, and heart-healthy life.