February is American Heart Month

Cardiovascular diseases are out nation’s No. 1 killer. During American Heart Month, thousands of volunteers with the American Heart Association raise funds for research and education and pass along information about heart disease and stroke to anyone that they can. This can go on at other times of the year as well but please make an effort in February to learn all you can and pass that knowledge on…you could save a life!

I want to share with you a few ways to help your heart and stay safe.

First, I want to let you know that in cold weather it is important to take come precautions if you have heart disease.

If you are outdoors, avoid sudden exertion.

Also, you have to be careful not to get hypothermia. Hypothermia happens when your body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit and it can’t produce enough energy to keep you warm enough. Symptoms include lack of coordination, mental confusion, slowed reactions, shivering and sleepiness. To keep warm, layer you clothing to trap air between layers forming a protective insulation. Also be sure to wear a hat and gloves.

Another thing to remember is that you don’t want to drink alcohol before going outdoors as it gives you a “fake” sense of warmth when the blood vessels in the skin expand.

The second tip I want to share with you is to get ACTIVE!

Make a list of your favorite types of physical activity and start doing something every day. Add 2-3 physical activity breaks into your schedule each day even if it is only for 5-10 minutes at a time.

Set physical activity goals with a friend! This will keep things fun and they can hold you accountable for showing up and getting active.

Help someone else with an activity they are having trouble with it, such as an elderly neighbor shoveling snow. You will be physically engaged and generous at the same time.

Eat healthy each day and encourage others to change their habits with you. Become a healthy office or a healthy family. Make it fun for everyone involved so they will want to change their bad habits and not feel forced to…which will not help them at all!

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