February brings reminder to take care of your heart
February is known for Valentine’s Day, the color red and hearts. While more emphasis is given to the middle of the month and the Valentine’s Day holiday just passed, the color red also signifies hearts in another realm—the one beating in your chest. While your heart is key to loving others, if it’s not kept healthy, your chance for enjoying more Valentine’s Days may be affected.
We all know keeping your blood pressure at healthy levels is a key to preventing heart disease. It’s amazing to realize that 67 million Americans have high blood pressure. If not controlled, people with high blood pressure are FOUR times more likely to die from stroke and THREE times more likely to die from heart disease.
I am on blood pressure medicine. I get it checked regularly. I initially realized a few years ago I had better do something about it after consistently seeing higher numbers when donating blood. I was turned away once, so went to the doctor. By the way, that’s a great way to get it checked regularly since your blood pressure is one of the first things Red Cross nurses check when you are in to give blood.
You can also get screened for free by just dropping in at the Chase County Clinic. Drugstores also provide the free service and there are home blood pressure monitors, too.
I’ll admit it’s been difficult, but I’ve made big changes in how I cook. Do you know that coconut oil can be used in most anything you make that requires oil? Read up on its health benefits. Who doesn’t like salt? Replacing salt with spices is also a heart-healthy choice. There are hundreds of delicious heart-healthy recipes out there to help alter your eating habits. And quit smoking!
Another recommendation from the American Heart Association is to encourage teachers and school administration to make physical education a part of the school day. We don’t have to push that too much here.
This weekend, you can help support elementary students in their annual Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart projects that raise funds for American Heart Association research. If you haven’t donated to that effort yet, get in touch with any K-6 student or physical education teacher Jodie Schuller. Our school has been a state fundraising leader in this program each year.
Friday night at the boys’ basketball game, our young students will be demonstrating their jump roping skills. What a great way to encourage heart-healthy activities at an early age.
Let’s all follow suit so more Valentine’s Days are in our future.