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.