February is heart month and there’s no better time to give yourself a little love. One of the best things you can do to prevent heart disease is through diet and exercise. Making sure you’re eating the right foods and getting the right amount of activity not only make your heart happy, but will improve your overall well being.
According to the American Heart Association
, nearly 65 percent of adult Americans are either considered obese or overweight—this is one of the major risk factors contributing to heart disease.
What if you could reduce your risk with only 30 minutes a day? That’s the amount of exercise time that could help keep your heart in shape.
Exercise is good for lots of reasons, including the following:
• Improves blood circulation
• Keeps your weight under control
• Helps you quit smoking
• Improves cholesterol levels
• Prevents and manages high blood pressure
• Prevents bone loss
• Boosts energy level
• Helps manage stress
• Helps you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly
• Reduces coronary heart disease in women by 30-40 percent
• Reduces risk of stroke by 20 percent in moderately active people
• Delays and chronic illness and disease associated with aging
All that good can come from simply swapping some couch time with a favorite TV program or a little less time behind the screen of your digital device indulgence—a good place to start is going for a walk in the neighborhood or park on a nice day, or even taking a walk through the mall on not-so-great weather days. Exercise doesn’t have to come with an expensive health club membership.
If starting an exercise routine is new to you, talk with your health care provider about what limitations you might need to respect for your current physical or medical conditions. Once you’ve got the all clear, enlist a friend or a family member to help keep you motivated and on the road to a happy and healthy life.