February is Heart Health Month. Have a look at these simple actions to improve your cardiovascular health. You don’t have to do them all at once, just take the first step and give your heart a healthy beat!
Break a Sweat
Living in the Roaring Fork Valley, we are spoiled with beautiful views right outside our door. A 30-minute walk five days a week can make a big difference in the long run. Remember, your heart is a muscle, and the rhythmic contraction during aerobic exercises helps keep your vascular system strong and healthy. If 30 minutes seems like a lot, just set your timer for 15 minutes on your phone and walk in any direction. Then turn around and come back home. Start with one day and work up to five. Easy, right?
Know Your Numbers
Information is power, and knowing your numbers can help you determine your risk for heart disease. While there are factors that we can’t control, like family history or age, we can control blood pressure, cholesterol levels, body mass index and blood sugar. Moderation is key; dial back or cut out smoking or drinking excessively. Remember, nicotine raises our blood pressure and alcohol increases our sugar intake. If you find these habits are hard to break, get help – you don’t have to do it alone.
Choose your healthy journey to receive the information you want to reach your goals.
Aspen Valley Hospital has a wealth of classes, events and workshops to educate and empower our extraordinary community as we reach the summit together.
Tackle Your Nutrition
Being conscious of your diet is one of the most accessible ways to lower our risk of developing heart disease. Remember, a well-balanced diet with healthy fats, fish, whole grains, and plant-based options can control cholesterol levels and keep sodium in check so that your blood pressure does not increase. Here are some of our favorite foods that taste great and improve cardiovascular health:
- Fish that are high in omegas, like salmon
- Healthy fats like nuts and avocado
- Plant-based protein like legumes, which are also high in fiber
- Whole grains, there are plenty of delicious options, from quinoa, buckwheat, whole wheat pasta and oatmeal
- 5 servings a day of vegetables, they are an important part of a healthy diet and a healthy heart
Stress is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Remember, when a stressful situation takes place, your body releases adrenaline which causes your heart rate to speed up and your heart pressure to increase. Learn how to identify what your stressors are and develop strategies for managing them.
We’re here to help!
Our Cardio Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program meets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in a welcoming group setting. During each one-hour exercise session, you will use a variety of equipment while our expert staff monitors your heart rhythms, blood pressure, oxygen saturation levels, and any cardiac symptoms. Meet new friends and progress according to your own pace as you pursue your personal goals. We have convenient locations at Aspen Valley Hospital and at our After-Hours Medical Care clinic in Basalt.
Give your heart a healthy beat. Contact me today to get started.
Jeanne B Stough, MS. EP
Cardiac Rehab Manager