February is American Heart Month and as a leading nonprofit dedicated to improving the nation’s health and well-being, the Westfield Area Y located at 220 Clark Street offers the following tips to help families within the community be heart healthy:
1. 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.
2. Take a Snooze: Lack of sleep has been 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.
3. 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 (for example low-fat yogurt instead of sour cream) can make a recipe healthier without sacrificing taste.
4. Feeling the Pressure: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lowering or maintaining normal blood pressure can greatly reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. Nearly 1 in 3 adults (about 67 million people) have high blood pressure and more than half of them don’t have it under control. Get your blood pressure checked regularly and discuss the results with your doctor.
5. 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.
Take a tour during American Heart Month and “spin the wheel” for a chance to win up to a $100 Westfield Area Y Gift Card.
To learn more on how your family can live a healthy, active life and see why the Y is where strong hearts make the difference visit www.westfieldynj.org.
The Y is the nation’s leading nonprofit committed to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Financial assistance is available for those who qualify.