Heart Healthy for American Heart Month
There’s no better time than February, “the month of love”, to pause and focus on heart health. Doing so improves the way we feel, perform and interact with others. So, what can we do to take care of ourselves and others during American Heart Month?
Every 2 seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood or platelets. Although 38% of the American
population is eligible to donate blood, only 2% actually donates. Today, blood supply is at one of
the lowest levels in recent history. MedCo is making a change to the 2% statistic by participating with our Alabama HFMA chapter in their annual blood drive. By hosting a blood drive onsite, we are encouraging friends, family and team members to take a small pause in their day and help to save lives. MedCo and AL HFMA are working to get as many donations as possible through March 31st .
If giving blood and saving lives isn’t enough, the American Heart Association also kicks off the start of National Heart Month. Their goal is to bring awareness to the number 1 killer in America, heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for BOTH men and women in the United States. Raising awareness doesn’t end with this month, the main event happens at their annual Heart Walk which takes place in hundreds of cities across America. In Huntsville, the Heart Walk will take place on May 14 and as usual, MedCo is gearing up and getting ready to raise awareness with company activities and some friendly competition. Check the American Heart Association’s website for how you can participate! www.heart.org
Physical inactivity is a major contributor for a person’s higher risk for heart disease. To help combat the daily 8-5 sitting at the desk, MedCo recently held a Biggest Loser challenge. This encouraged everyone competing to exercise regularly, eat healthier, and overall increase activity levels. Coworkers cheered on everyone in the friendly competition who shared their tips and tricks (see some below) to getting the most out of the goal. In the end, the entire company benefitted and are lighter and healthier than we began. You can too! Set goals. Set a daily goal for the number of steps you take and day and then work to reach those goals.
Enlist a partner or group of partners who all have similar goals. Encourage each other while holding each other accountable. Plan to be active every day. Join an exercise class.
How much is enough? The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends you aim for at least
2½ hours of physical activity each week—that’s just 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. In addition, do
muscle strengthening exercises 2 days a week. Can’t carve out a lot of time in your day? Don’t chuck your goal, chunk it! Try 10 or 15 minutes a few times a day. NHLBI’s Move More fact sheet has ideas to
get and keep you moving.
Maintaining a healthy weight is a key factor to heart health. Although cardiovascular disease remains the leading proximate cause of death in the U.S., it is now estimated that obesity may be the equivalent to smoking as the leading cause of preventable deaths in America. A health weight helps promote overall health. Making just a few changes in your weekly diet can have lasting effects on your heart and your longevity. Choosing meals lower in fat and cholesterol has long been identified to increase your heart health. For heart healthy cooking ideas, visit the National Heart and Blood institutes cooking website. https://healthyeating.nhlbi.nih.gov/
GET REGULAR CHECKUPS
With so much emphasis on the current pandemic, many times we forget that our daily health is just as important. Appointments get skipped or prolonged and we tend to decide that if we don’t notice a problem, then there isn’t one. Annual checkups are always encouraged, but doing regular maintenance to make sure our bodies are performing their best is also a key to a better lifestyle. Schedule your checkups today.
National Heart Month is only recognized once a year, but taking care of our hearts and our overall health is important every day of the year. Let’s start this February to love ourselves for the long run!