Ah, February! The month set aside to celebrate true love, let groundhogs predict the weather, and acknowledge that our failed New Year’s Resolutions were overly ambitious. What more could we ask of 28 days? Actually, here are a few ideas –
Did you know February is also American Heart Month? I’m not just talking about the Lonely-Hearts Club, either. I’m talking about that fantastic muscle in your chest that looks nothing like the shape we show our children. This is the month to learn how to keep your ticker ticking as long as possible.
Before you completely throw away your New Year’s goals, take a glance at them and see if there is one aimed at a healthier lifestyle. There usually is. Don’t wholly discard that one. While you may need to make some changes, it is never too late to start improving your health.
Wait! Before starting any exercise program, you should have a wellness exam by your primary care provider. While you are there, take the time to have a conversation with him/her about any family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol. You may have a genetic tendency for these conditions just because of where your ancestry. That’s something none of us can control.
Risks that increase your heart disease chance include being overweight, having high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and being inactive. With diet and exercise, many of these risk factors can be managed. Yes, sometimes we have to discuss medication, but not always. Knowing your risks early on can help you take control of the situation.
Now, a quick word about exercise. Exercise does not only mean running. If you love to run, great! For you, exercise can be running. For those of you who do not love running or can’t run, there are other options. Never underestimate the value of walking. It is easy on the joints, and you can implement intervals with this. After all, speed walking is an Olympic Sport. There are other great options. Feel free to YouTube some Yoga. Pull out all those old DVDs, then mix and mash the workouts. Just get moving once your provider gives you the go-ahead.
If February isn’t your month because you don’t get into all this Valentine’s stuff, then don’t get sucked into the candy. However, when you look at the heart designs, start to think about your heart health. Your heart is there for you on average 100,000 beats a day. Are there 1 or 2 things a day you can do in return for it?
By Emily Dunn, FNP
Canyon View Women’s Care
For a list of Canyon View Family Medicine Primary Care providers, visit https://canyonviewfamilymedicine.com/providers/