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Forget Love, Make Your Heart About Health

By Sara Butler

Love Yourself

If the month of February had a mascot, it would be a heart. You simply can’t escape hearts this month. But instead of letting it remind you of chocolates and flowers and the love of your life, why not let it serve as a reminder of how important it is to care for your own heart? Here are a few easy things you can do to make every day Valentine’s Day for your heart!

It’s All About Your Lifestyle

It may seem like an intimidating prospect to change your lifestyle in ice-cold ways, but the truth is that once you start, it’s a lot easier than you may imagine. That’s because doing things each day that helps keep your heart healthy also provides some awesome side effects for the rest of you. You may find yourself with more energy, in a better mood, and feeling fitter.

Let’s Get Physical!

Dedicating just 15 minutes of your day to getting your heart pumping is one way to keep your heart strong and healthy. You don’t need to join a gym or even leave your house to do it, either. Simply march, jog, or step in place as you catch up on your favorite binge-worthy television. Work to increase your physical activity by five-minute increments every week until you reach 30 minutes. If you can do 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week, then you’re on your way to a healthier heart -- and a healthier you!

Drink Up

If you want to focus on heart health, then you should drink one thing: water. Yes, water should be with you everywhere you go and you should drink it throughout the day. It may sound silly but finding a water bottle that you really love can inspire you to drink more water. If you love ice-cold water, then look into a vacuum-insulated bottle that keeps the cold in for hours at a time. And if you don’t love the idea of plain water, then find a bottle that allows you to infuse different fresh fruit and herbs into your water for a little extra kick. Plus, a reusable water bottle helps the environment as much as it helps supply you with water for a healthy heart.

Reduce Salt

Salt may taste good but it sure does wreak havoc on your poor heart. Too much salt can lead to high blood pressure, which is why reducing your salt intake is an important step to heart health and your cardiovascular health as a whole.

It’s important to know the sneaky ways salt gets into the foods you eat. As someone who has climbed aboard the Health Express, you probably look at nutrition labels for the foods you buy (right?). You can find sodium on many labels, but that’s not all you should be looking for. Also beware of salt under different names such as sodium citrate, monosodium glutamate (MSG), sodium benzoate, disodium phosphate, sodium caseinate, sodium sulfite, sodium alginate, and sodium hydroxide. If it has “sodium” in it, beware.

Love Yourself

At the end of the day, one of the most important things you can do for your heart is to stay positive and remember to give yourself credit. If you have a day in which you eat an entire box of Twinkies or skip your exercise, don’t beat yourself up too much. Just get back on track and remember that many of the healthy things you do each day requires momentum -- so don’t forget to congratulate yourself for the things you are doing to make a healthy impact on your heart and your life.

February may be all about affairs of the heart, but when it stops beating, all the love in the world isn’t going to make it better. This year, dedicate -- or rededicate -- yourself to heart health and give your loved ones something to really be thankful for.

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