Think about your heart all year, not just today

Heart health is important all year long.

Valentine’s Day and February’s designation as American Heart Month remind people to care for their hearts. But don’t make that a one-month commitment. Show your heart some love year-round with these five simple healthy aging tips:

  • Be sweet — Instead of eating chocolate, try blueberries or strawberries. These heart-healthy treats are filled with natural antioxidants that can help keep your arteries open.
  • Move to the beat — Grab a partner and do some fancy footwork. Any activity that gets you moving, such as dancing or walking, can help increase blood circulation, reduce stress and protect your heart.
  • Do your thing — Activities such as painting, writing, yoga and meditation can help slow your heart and breathing rates and lower your blood pressure.
  • Avoid tobacco — If you smoke, join a support group to help you quit and talk to your doctor about medications that can help increase your chances of kicking the habit.
  • Maintain a healthy weight — If you are overweight, losing as little as 10 pounds can make a difference and lower your risk of heart problems.

Do something good for your heart. Living a healthy lifestyle can help your heart stay strong for years to come. For more ES&H tips and a chance to win a prize, log-on to the ES&H website and click on Take-Five Tools/Challenge.

— John B. Dawson.