February is American Heart Month

COOKEVILLE — Heart disease is a leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Most middle-aged and young adults have one or more risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or being a smoker or overweight. 

The more risk factors you have, the higher your risk for heart disease.

“Heart disease kills about 700,000 people in the United States and is a leading cause of death in men and women,” said Dr. Stacy Brewington, cardiologist with Cookeville Regional Medical Center. “There are many ways to keep your heart healthy, but one of those important methods is with an annual check-up.”

Here are a few heart healthy lifestyle tips to protect your heart.

  • Be more physically active
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a nutritious diet
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce stress
  • Get 7-8 hours of quality sleep
  • Track your heart health stats

It’s best to start small and work up to the point you want to be.

Having a team helps

Invite family, friends, colleagues or members of your community to join you in your efforts to be more physically active.

Ask a colleague to walk with you on a regular basis. Put the date on both your calendars. Text or call to make sure you both get out for a walk.

Make it a regular date with a friend or family member to go to the same online exercise class.

Aim for at least 2.5 hours of physical activity each week – that’s just 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. In addition to that, do muscle strengthening exercises two days a week.

How do you get motivated?

Here are a few tips. 

Share your fitness goals with your spouse or roommate.

Commit to a walking schedule with a friend or family member.

If you enjoy the outdoors, try biking, hiking, golf or gardening.

Play with your children.

Check out the track at a nearby school.

Think of physical activity as a special time to refresh your body and mind.

Incorporate activities into your day, such as doing strength exercises while watching TV or listening to a podcast.

Use a workout game on your gaming console.

Take a walk during lunch.

Go for a walk or a bike ride before you sit down to enjoy dinner or a movie.

If your schedule doesn’t allow 30 minutes at one time, try 10 or 15 minutes a few times each day.

Here are some tips from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Do you only have 10 minutes?

Consider walking briskly for five minutes, turning around and walking back.

Dancing (standing or seated) to three songs.

You’ll know you’re moving enough to help your heart if your heart is beating faster, you’re breathing harder, you break a sweat or being able to talk, but not sing during physical activities.

Little changes can make a big difference.

If you need a cardiologist to help you catch-up on your check-ups, visit crmchealth.org to find a listing.

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