February is American Heart Month
February is American Heart Month and The Gateway Family YMCA urges local community members to get a blood pressure screening. Revised blood pressure guidelines from American Heart Association mean that nearly half of all Americans (46 percent) have high blood pressure. High blood pressure is often referred to as “The Silent Killer” because there are typically no warning signs or symptoms.
While high blood pressure and heart disease are serious conditions, the good news is a healthy heart is an achievable goal through lifestyle changes such as lowering sodium intake, eating healthier, and getting more physical activity.
Below are tips for the entire family to become heart healthy this February:
- Get Physical: Being physically active every day is fun and can improve the function of your heart. Plan and schedule opportunities for active play; for example, include a brisk 10-minute trip around the block after meals or a 10-minute walking break during the day. If your family enjoys active video games, select versions that require moving the body’s large muscle groups while playing.
- Take a Snooze: Lack of sleep can be associated with elevated cholesterol and blood pressure. Adults need at least seven, but no more than nine hours of sleep at night to aid with the prevention of heart disease. Children need 10-12 hours of sleep per night. Develop bedtime routines for the whole family to assist with falling asleep faster and staying asleep.
- Shape Up Those Recipes: Makeover your family’s favorite recipes by reducing the amount of salt and saturated fat and substituting a lower fat food without sacrificing tastes. For example, use low-fat yogurt instead of sour cream and skip the seasoning packet and use pepper and olive oil instead. Read food labels to learn more about what is in the package, select foods that have less than 1,000 mg of sodium per serving.
- Feeling the Pressure: Revised blood pressure guidelines from American Heart Association mean that nearly half of all Americans (46 percent) have high blood pressure. Lowering or maintaining normal blood pressure can greatly reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. Start self-monitoring your blood pressure and know the numbers. Discuss the results with you doctor if needed.
- Play Together: Spending time together as a family is a great way to reduce stress, which is important to heart health. Make homemade valentines for your children’s classmates or build a snow fort together in the yard or the park.
“There are many factors in keeping your heart healthy and having a handle on your blood pressure and sodium intake are effective tools in the preventing heart disease,” said Krystal R. Canady, CEO, The Gateway Family YMCA.
The Gateway Family YMCA offers the YMCA’s Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program in a virtual format free to the community. Designed to assist adults with hypertension lower and better manage their blood pressure, the program focuses on regular monitoring of one’s blood pressure at home using proper measuring techniques, individualized support and nutrition education to potentially reduce blood pressure and improve their quality of life. Registration is available at www.tgfymca.org
“Whether you have high blood pressure, are at risk for heart disease or want to keep your heart healthy the Y has resources that can help achieve better health,” stated Melynda A. Mileski, EVP/COO, The Gateway Family YMCA. “We offer virtual programs and activities for all ages designed to improve and increase physical activity and community health.”
The Gateway Family YMCA is open and providing individual and family members with heart-healthy activity and programs including swimming, group exercise, virtual exercise and small group chronic disease self-management and nutrition programs. Families participate in programs and activities including virtual Get Fit Kids, YMCA Child Care, Remote Learning Spaces, Family Lap Swimming and Basketball.
The Gateway Family YMCA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, health and community service organization of caring staff and volunteers dedicated to youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The Y is a powerful association of men, women and children of all ages and from all walks of life joined together by a shared passion: to strengthen community.
For more information on how The Gateway Family YMCA can assist your family live a healthy, active life, visit www.tgfymca.org