February is American Heart Month and a great time to commit to a healthy lifestyle and make small changes that can lead to a lifetime of heart health. We can use this month to raise awareness about heart disease and how people can prevent it — both at home and in the community. Since healthy habits start at home, here are a few simple ways to lead a heart healthy lifestyle.
Eat smart. One of the most important things you can do to protect your heart is eating healthy. Most healthy eating habits include fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, and limit unhealthy fats. Viewed as perhaps the world’s healthiest eating pattern, the Mediterranean style incorporates the basics of healthy eating and is abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and olive oil. A great way to manage your healthy lifestyle is to take full advantage of your beautiful Signature Homes kitchen and make your meals at home.
Here are a few heart healthy recipes to get you started:
Add color. An easy first step to eating healthy is to include fruits and vegetables at every meal and snack. All forms (fresh, frozen, canned and dried) and all colors count, so go ahead and add color to your plate – and your life. A handful of spinach or kale blends well with any fruit smoothie. Try the Avocado and Coconut Refresher Smoothie or the classic Green Monster by blending 1 cup milk, 1 frozen banana, 2 handfuls spinach, and 1 tablespoon almond butter. Here are 39 more sneaky ways to fit veggies into any meal.
Move more. Find forms of exercise you like and will stick with, and build more opportunities to be active into your routine. Here are some suggestions from the American Heart Association on how to get active:
– Get your kids active while doing housework. Place a sticky note on all of the items that need cleaning or tidying (like the kitchen table, the sofa, the bed). Your child will collect each sticky note after they clean the item. Make it a friendly competition to see who collects the most stickies. You could even offer a prize (like a Frisbee or jump rope from the dollar store) for the winner with the most stickies. Your kids will be physically active, helping with household chores and having fun!
– Increase the intensity of household chores by using time limits. Put on a favorite CD and allot a certain number of songs to complete each chore. For example, allow two songs to vacuum the living room, three songs to wash the dishes, and one song to pick up toys in the playroom. You and your kids will be moving faster and working harder to beat the clock, causing your hearts to pump harder and get stronger.
– Get the entire family involved. After dinner, assign everyone a task in the cleanup. Everything from clearing the dishes, loading the dishwasher, and putting away leftovers can get the family up and moving. Finish off the evening by going for a family walk or doing group physical activities like stretching. Not only will everyone be out of their chair, but this will also be fun bonding time for you and your family.
With a little creativity, you will be surprised by all the ways you and your family can get your heart pumping in your Signature home!
Be well. Along with eating right and being active, real health includes getting enough sleep, practicing mindfulness, managing stress, keeping mind and body fit, connecting socially, and more.
A total healthy eating plan and lifestyle approach continues to be one of the best prescriptions for a long, healthy life. Explore the American Heart Association’s website for more tips and hacks on being more heart healthy. Live long and love your heart!