Fall in Love with Heart Health during American Heart Month
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
February is American Heart Month and as a leading voice on improving the nation’s health, the YMCA urges everyone in Northeast Wisconsin to take steps to make sure they are heart healthy so they can lead longer, healthier lives.
“Heart disease is critical issue for all Green Bay area residents and it’s never too late to get heart healthy,” said Marcia Sengstock, Member Experience Director, Greater Green Bay – West Side YMCA. “Organizations like the Y have numerous options that can get you on the right path to avoid this preventable condition. At the Y, we strive to make an impact everyday to change lives for good… good heart health is the beginning for all of that.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the nation’s number one killer, responsible for 1 in 4 deaths each year in the United States. The Y offers numerous physical fitness options, free wellness coaching as well as paid personal training sessions with credentialed staff.
Research shows that the simple process of checking and recording your blood pressure at least twice a month over a four month period, along with regular physical activity, proper nutrition and reducing sodium intake, may lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
In addition to programs and services offered in the Green Bay area, the Y offers the following tips on how to live heart healthy.
Get Physical: Being physically active every day is fun and can improve the function of your heart. Plan and schedule opportunities for active play; for example, include a brisk 10-minute trip around the block after meals or a 10-minute walking break during the day. If your family enjoys active video games, select versions that require moving the body’s large muscle groups while playing.
Take a Snooze: Lack of sleep has been associated with elevated cholesterol and blood pressure. Adults need at least seven, but no more than nine hours of sleep at night to aid with the prevention of heart disease. Children need 10-12 hours of sleep per night. Develop bedtime routines for the whole family to assist with falling asleep faster and staying asleep.
Shape Up Those Recipes: Makeover your family’s favorite recipes by reducing the amount of salt and saturated fat and substituting a lower fat food without sacrificing tastes. For example, use low-fat yogurt instead of sour cream and skip the seasoning packet and use pepper and olive oil instead. Read food labels to learn more about what is in the package, select foods that have less than 1,000 mg of sodium per serving.
Feeling the Pressure: According to the American Heart Association, lowering or maintaining normal blood pressure can greatly reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. Nearly 1 in 3 adults (about 78 million people) has high blood pressure and more than half of them don’t have it under control. Start self-monitoring your blood pressure and know the numbers. Discuss the results with your doctor.
Play Together: Spending time together as a family is a great way to reduce stress, which is important to heart health. Make homemade valentines for your children’s classmates, build a snow fort together in the yard or the park, or try class at the Y together!