<3 Health

February is American Heart Month. Are you doing what it takes to keep this incredible muscle in tip-top shape? While marathon running (or even jogging) may not be your thing, it is important to do what you can each day to ensure your heart is functioning at its best. The heart serves as a messenger, so to speak, pumping blood throughout the body. Without this, we would not get the oxygen, vitamins and nutrients that we need to feel our best. But just like any other muscle, the more you give it a good workout, the more it will reward you.

So, while your New Year’s Resolution may have you focused on your glutes, abs or biceps, take this month to work on the body’s most important muscle – the heart – and experience better overall health. Here are a few ways you can take better care:

Maintain a healthy weight

Exercise daily and allow the heart to reach your target rate (subtract your age from 220)

Quit smoking

Develop ways to manage stress, such as practicing yoga or meditation, or picking up a hobby

Choose nutritious foods

Schedule your annual physical examination

Call the doctor if you have any heart concerns

Choose antioxidant snacks, such as blueberries, beans, strawberries and sunflower seeds

Sign up for a dance class to get the body moving and a night of fun

Consider adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet by eating fish twice a week

Laugh more, get angry less

Lower your cholesterol levels by increasing soluble fiber with beans, broccoli and pears

Skip the salt

Avoid foods that are high in saturated fat, like cakes, fatty meat and butter

Sleep more