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– Do More to Keep Your Heart Healthy

Do More to Keep Your Heart Healthy

 

February is American Heart Month and as a leading voice on improving the nation’s health and well-being, the Harrisburg YMCA urges everyone in the Harrisburg Area to take steps to make sure they are heart healthy so they can lead longer, healthier lives.

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 community-based healthy living initiatives that support people in changing their lifestyles, encourage organizations and communities to adopt behaviors that promote healthy living and promote the public’s health through advocacy.

The Y offers the following tips on how to live heart healthy.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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 (for example low-fat yogurt instead of sour cream) can make a recipe healthier without sacrificing taste.

4. Feeling the Pressure: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lowering or maintaining normal blood pressure can greatly reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. Nearly 1 in 3 adults (about 67 million people) has high blood pressure and more than half of them don’t have it under control. Get your blood pressure checked regularly and discuss the results with you doctor.

5. 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 or build a snow fort together in the yard or park.

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