A Healthy Heart for Your Valentine

Skip the heart-shaped chocolates this Valentine’s Day and give yourself and your sweetheart healthier hearts.

This holiday is a great opportunity to show your loved ones how much you appreciate them by committing to stay heart healthy! High cholesterol, obesity, hypertension, physical inactivity and smoking all are risk factors for heart attack or stroke, according to the American Heart Association. Simple lifestyle changes like healthier eating, increasing your physical activity, and reducing stress can help improve your heart health. Agree to support each other on this journey to heart health! Here are a few ways you can stay heart-healthy together:

  • Choose foods low in cholesterol and saturated fats. Perhaps take a cooking class together, or browse cookbooks at the library to find recipes that entice both of you.
  • Avoid processed meats, and opt for fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables by aiming for more color and variety with every meal. Also eat more fish (two 3.5-oz. servings a week) and fiber-rich whole grains.
  • Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity on most days. Take a 15-minute walk together before breakfast and discuss your plans for the day. Take another after dinner.
  • Park farther from the door when you get to work, and use the stairs whenever possible. Spend time at a shopping center walking for 10 or 15 minutes before starting errands.
  • Enjoy a weekend bicycle ride together, or explore nature trails in your area.
  • Perform strength activities at least twice a week. Coax your partner into some friendly competition.
  • Take 15 to 20 minutes daily to sit quietly, breathe deeply and clear your mind. If both of you are interested in yoga or meditation, incorporate some poses into your morning or nightly routine.
  • Give each other time to do things alone that you enjoy, such as a book group or a football game. Not only does “absence make the heart grow fonder,” as the saying goes; it gives you the chance to grow and reconnect better when you’re together.

Whether you take a heart healthy cooking class or go for a bike ride together each evening, staying healthy is easier and more fun when you've got someone to support you. At Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, we're here for you and your sweetheart — whether it involves a matter of the heart or other health concerns. Visit us online to learn more about our hospital services and how we can help you stay healthy!

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