Treat your heart with kindness this February!

Most Canadians have at least one risk factor of heart disease and stroke.  This means it’s very important to ensure you’re taking the best possible care of yourself.

Cardiovascular health is heavily influenced by an individual’s physical and social environment, and factors such as availability of healthy foods, physical education, working conditions and community resources. Lifestyle factors, like the ones outlined below, have a major impact on the overall health of one’s heart.

Here’s how you can take care of your heart this February and beyond:

Quit smoking
Smokers are twice as likely to experience a heart attack than someone who does not smoke.  However, the minute you quit, that risk of heart attack begins to decline significantly.  Get the help you need to quit if you can’t do it alone.  It’s literally about life and death.

Eat healthier
On some level, we all know what this means.  But it can be difficult.  Start by cutting back on foods high in salt, a known cause of high blood pressure. In addition, strive to eat a balanced diet consisting of fresh fruit, vegetables, and lean protein.

Monitor your alcohol consumption
Too much alcohol can be damaging to your heart and can increase blood pressure.

Exercise regularly
The heart is one of your body’s most important muscles, and it needs consistent exercise to work efficiently. Find an activity you enjoy doing regularly, so it’s easy to do long-term.

Manage stress
We’ve heard this many times before… because it’s true.  Increased stress levels can result in an individual failing to eat properly, skipping exercise, or drinking too much, therefore increasing risk of heart attack or stroke.
Find ways to clear your mind whether it be mediation, a brisk walk, light stretching, or just being mindful daily.