Today is Valentine’s Day eve, so it’s no surprise that today’s Friday Five theme is all about love. Since we are still in the middle of American Heart Month, I thought I would share five ways to love your heart.
(Each item is linked to an article on the American Heart Association website.)
1. Be active. We all know that exercise is important to heart health, but we shouldn’t forget that a moderate level of physical activity–equivalent to 30 minutes of brisk walking a day–can be enough to improve cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and make you feel good.
2. Enjoy heart-healthy foods. You don’t have to follow a special diet to enjoy heart-healthy foods, but there are foods on this list of ten heart-healthy foods that you can enjoy if you follow a vegan,vegetarian, low-carb, or Paleo diet. Since I’m don’t follow any particular diet, I can enjoy all the foods. 😉
3. Lower your cholesterol. Did you see the news this week that dietary cholesterol may not be the health risk we have been told it was? That’s good news for someone like me who loves to eat eggs! There is a correlation between high blood levels of “bad” cholesterol and heart disease, so lowering your cholesterol levels is still important. According to the American Heart Association, getting at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, avoiding tobacco smoke and eating a heart-healthy diet can help lower your cholesterol levels.
4. Manage stress. If you are like me, you may feel like you are under a lot of stress trying to juggle the competing demands of work, family and your own personal needs. Stress is no joke. Physical symptoms of stress can include increased adrenaline production that causes your breathing and heart rate to speed up, and your blood pressure to rise. When stress is constant or chronic, these effects can impact your health and put you at risk. It is important to manage stress–and do what you can to reduce the stressors in your life!
5. Get enough sleep. Competing demands on my time can make it tempting to skimp on sleep, but poor sleep is linked with high blood pressure, raises levels of stress hormones, and weakens your immune system. Don’t feel guilty for going to bed early or taking a nap–do it for your health!
If you’re more interested in Friday the 13th, please hop over to the Cherry Blossom blog, where we’re sharing our race day horror stories.
Do you have any plans for Valentine’s Day?