National Wear Red Day is Tomorrow, February 6







This Friday, February 6th is the American Heart Association’s “National Wear Red Day” which brings awareness to the fact that more women than me die each year from heart disease. The vast majority of these heart problems can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle, however, which is encouraging!

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Heart Month: Can You Recognize a Heart Attack?

Smart911_Heart Health

February is Heart Month: Five Ways to Maintain a Healthy Heart


Did you know heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women? In honor of American Heart Month this February, Decatur Active Living wants to ensure that all of our citizens stay as healthy as possible.  Here are 5 small and steady changes you can make in your life that will help you build a stronger heart and prepare for and prevent against any heart related emergencies.

Sustain a healthy diet. Maintaining a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fiber and low-fat dairy products can give you the jumpstart you need towards a heart-healthy routine.  While eating at least 5 servings of these healthy nutrients a day, be sure to cut out foods high in sodium, saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. Foods said to decrease your risk of heart attack and protect against irregular heartbeats are those rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Certain types of fish, walnuts and soybeans are all good natural sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce potentially dangerous conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Discuss your health range with your doctor and dedicate just 25-30 minutes a day to a workout of your choice.

Do not smoke or use tobacco. Because chemicals in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels, smoking cigarettes or using tobacco is viewed today as one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease. If you currently smoke or use tobacco, consult with you doctor about selecting a method to quit as soon as possible.

Seek regular health checks.  High blood pressure and cholesterol can damage your heart and blood vessels, but you can take action against these conditions by monitoring your health on a regular basis. Because high blood pressure often has no symptoms, be sure to have it checked by your doctor or pharmacy technician once a year. Schedule an appointment with your doctor once every 3-5 years to have your cholesterol checked with a simple blood test.

Sign up for Smart 911 to give 9-1-1 valuable information about yourself, family members, your home, pets and vehicles that will automatically display on the 9-1-1 call taker’s screen when you dial 9-1-1. It’s private and secure and you control what information is in your profile.  Should you ever experience a heart attack or other heart-related emergency, these details can shave off valuable seconds in response time and ultimately save your life.

No Time to Exercise? Learn How to Take 10!

From the American Heart Association:

You found your keys. You found the motivation to clean out your closet. Now you’ve got to find 30 minutes in your day to get physically active — and there are plenty of easy, no-cost ways to do it.

Think you don’t have time? You don’t have to do all 30 minutes at once. You’ll get the same benefits if you divide your time into two or three 10- to 15-minute segments a day.

“Building physical activity back into our daily lives is one of the great public health challenges of this century,” said Russell Pate, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Exercise at the University of South Carolina. “Our bodies were designed to be physically active, and they don’t do well with long-term exposure to sedentary living.  Lack of physical activity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.”

Here are some of Dr. Pate’s tips for getting active:

  1. Get out the leash and walk your dog. It’s a great activity for both man and man’s best friend. Your heart — and your pooch — will thank you!
  2. Take your child for a brisk walk. It’s an excellent way to get some one-on-one time (or one-on-three, depending on the size of your brood.) Spice up your routine by exploring new neighborhoods or turning your walk into a scavenger hunt.
  3. Mall walk. Are you sweating (or shivering) at the idea of walking outside? Take a brisk stroll around your local mall instead. Window shop, people watch and give your heart a workout in a climate-controlled environment.
  4. Join a team.  Pick an activity you love and round up some friends. Team sports can be fun — and keep you motivated and accountable.
  5. Walk and talk. Even if you’re glued to your phone for work calls, you don’t have to be glued to your seat. Make it a habit to talk and walk. Some workplaces have walking paths to make it even easier to burn while you earn.
  6. Tune into fitness during TV time.  Reject your inner couch potato. Walk, jog in place or use the treadmill at the gym while you watch your favorite 30-minute show.
  7. Park and walk. How many times have you circled the parking lot to find “the” spot? Spare yourself the stress and gain more energy by parking far away (or even in a remote lot) and walking farther to your destination.
  8. Take the stairs. The elevator may go up — but it doesn’t make your heart rate climb. Take the stairs instead. You may huff and puff at first, but over time, your body will thank you. 
  9. Dance! Do it in a ballroom, at a club or even in your living room. You’ll burn calories and gain a new hobby.
  10. Skip the cake, say goodbye to pie and take a walk after dinner. You’ll get a reward that’s sweeter than dessert: more family time.
    If these ideas don’t work for you, find something that you enjoy. Ditching the excuses can be the first step to a healthier you. Of course, if you have an injury, talk to your doctor first to see if there’s a low-impact exercise you can do or find out if you should wait until you’re healed.

And here’s more food for thought: “Our culture no longer requires us to be hunters and gathers, but our bodies still need the physical activity that is required by that way of life,” Russell said. So check out these tips to get moving today!

Time for Some Healthy Snacking

The American Heart Association recommends healthy snacking. Not only are the snacks below healthy, but most are easy to make and quite refreshing in this heat.

  • Fruit Pops: Homemade freezer pops are an easy, fun treat for kids to make. Mash up fruit like peaches, grapes, berries or watermelon and put them in paper cups, insert a popsicle stick, freeze overnight and enjoy!
  • Cool and Crisp: Keep a variety of colorful veggies on hand that stay cool and crunchy – baby carrots, cucumber slices and celery sticks are just a few examples.
  • Fruit Smoothies: Blend your favorite fresh fruits with fat-free or low-fat yogurt and ice for a refreshing drink or freeze and eat with a spoon like a frozen ice chill.
  • Mix it up: Make your own trail mix using your favorite unsalted, oil-free nuts, seeds and dried fruits (just be sure to keep servings to 1.5 ounces or 1/3 cup).

Just Slice and Serve: Summer is peak season for most fruits; just slice and serve – the whole family will enjoy the refreshing natural sweetness and juices just the way nature made ’em!

Instead of stopping off for some fast food, stop by your local farmers’ market and select some seasonal fresh fruit for your snacking.