Monday, February 13, 2023
Did you know that people who have close relationships at home, work, or in their community tend to be healthier and live longer? One reason, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), is that we’re more successful at meeting our health goals when we work on them with others. NHLBI launched the #OurHearts movement to inspire us to protect and strengthen our hearts with the support of others.
Here are some facts, how-to tips, and resources to inspire you to join with others, even if you can’t be physically together, to improve your heart health.
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. Having multiple risk factors increases your risk for heart disease.
Why Connecting is Good for Your Heart
Feeling connected with others and having positive, close relationships benefits our overall health, including our blood pressure and weight. Having people in our lives who motivate and care for us helps, as do feelings of closeness and companionship.
Follow these heart-healthy lifestyle tips to protect your heart. It will be easier and you’ll be more successful if you work on them with others. Texting and phone calls count!
- 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 statistics
You don’t have to make big changes all at once. Small steps will get you where you want to go.
Looking for more ways to make connections? AgeGuide’s funded partners offer friendly visiting and phone calls. To find a program in your area click HERE.
Start by Moving More
Increasing your level of activity is a key to heart health. Invite family, friends, colleagues, or neighbors to join you in physical activity:
- Ask a colleague to walk with you on a regular basis, put the date on both your calendars, and text or call to make sure you both get out for a walk.
- Get a friend or family member to sign up for the same online exercise class, such as a dance class. Make it a regular date!
- Grab your kids, grandkids, or your dog, put on music, and do jumping jacks, skip rope, or dance in your living room or yard.
How much is enough? 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.
Looking for more ways to get moving and be healthy? AgeGuide’s funded partners offer health promotion and education classes. To find a program in your area click HERE.