Roses are red, violets are blue, take care of your heart, and it will take care of you!
There’s more than one reason to share the love this February–this month is American Heart Month. Heart disease is the number one cause of death for both women and men in America; in fact, one out of every four deaths in the U.S. every year is due to heart disease.
In partnership with IT’S TIME TEXAS, Greater Austin residents can call our Navigation Center at 2-1-1 and speak to a Living Healthier coach who can give you tips and help you set goals to get your health and fitness on track. One of our Living Healthier coaches, Suzanne, provided us with a few tips for easy ways to start taking care of your heart. These small steps can go a long way to creating lifetime of heart health:
Make physical activity part of your everyday routine
One easy change: skip the elevator, take the stairs. Climbing stairs is a natural and easy way to fit physical activity into your work week. Burn an extra 100-200 calories by incorporating this simple change into your day.
Need a creative boost? Try hosting “walking meetings.” A study from Stanford University found that participants increased their creativity levels by an average of 60% when walking compared to sitting. Next time your brain is dry for ideas, get walking for that creative flow.
Instead of watching TV after dinner, go on a family walk around the neighborhood to catch up and share stories from your day.
What’s cooking in your kitchen?
Many of the common causes of heart disease are the result of an unhealthy diet. Most of us get more sodium than we need and salt alone is not the culprit. Packaged and prepared foods are also high in sodium. According to ChooseMyPlate.gov some sodium rich foods include:
- Processed meats, poultry and seafood
- Salad dressings and seasonings
- Prepared rice or pasta dishes
- Sauces or gravies
Try swapping out high sodium foods for lower, less salty options. Choose fresh or frozen meats, poultry, or seafood instead of pre-packaged options. Since restaurant meals are common sources of sodium, use the weekend to plan out meals throughout the week that you can prepare at home instead. Make sure to always read the nutrition label on food you are buying; you may be surprised to learn what’s actually in it.
We know–easier said than done. But stress levels play a huge role in not only heart health, but impacting your health as a whole. Find the best way to relieve stress for you, whether that’s exercising, meditating, speaking with a therapist or coloring. Check out some tips to relieving stress from the American Heart Association.
About Our Partnership with IT’S TIME TEXAS
The IT’S TIME TEXAS Coach Hotline is a phone-based, community health promotion initiative that assists individuals and families in developing healthy lifestyle goals and action plans to support engagement in healthy behaviors. IT’S TIME TEXAS is a first-of-its-kind cause organization that empowers people to lead healthy lives and build healthier communities. In 2015, IT’S TIME TEXAS and United Way for Greater Austin teamed up to deliver the Coach Hotline to encourage participation in physical activity, healthy eating, and general wellness.