February is National Heart Month! While we at Faith Community Health System want our patients to do everything possible to keep their hearts happy and healthy every month, we thought we would take a few minutes to point out specific ways you can take care of your ticker – so it will take care of you!

Don’t miss this: As part of Faith’s Learning Series, Jacey Brittain, LNFA, administrator of Faith Community Nursing & Rehabilitation, will be discussing “Good Heart Health is a Lifetime of Wealth” at the Concerned Citizens Senior Center, 400 East Pine Street in Jacksboro, on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024 at 6 p.m. email Melanie Belcher at mbelcher@fchtexas.com to reserve your spot!

5 Ways to Get on the Road to Good Heart Health

1. Get Moving!

You know that exercise is good for your body, but did you know it’s very important for your heart? It’s true!

Thirty minutes a day…that’s what the American Heart Association recommends when it comes to daily movement. You don’t have to be a gym rat, though the Swan Family Wellness Center offers a wide array of equipment and classes to help make exercise fun.

You can walk, garden, dance – anything that gets your heart pumping may very well do the trick. The important thing is to stay active. Being sedentary (We’re talking to you, Couch Potato!) can lead to serious health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and weight gain.

Plus, the upsides of being active on a regular basis on many. Not only can adding exercise into your life help to improve your mood and lower stress, but it can improve flexibility, stability and overall strength.

2. Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet!

Eating a nutritious diet is important for a whole host of reasons. More than just limiting intake of salt, sugar and saturated fat, all of your body’s organs, including your heart, require the vitamins, minerals and fiber, etc., that you can get from eating lean protein, vegetables and fruits, whole grains and healthy fats.

If you are, indeed, a couch potato and you find yourself dipping into the snack cabinet more than you should, consider swapping out unhealthy chips and ice cream for healthier nuts and fruits.

If you already eat fairly healthy, you may want to add some particularly heart-healthy foods to keep your heart happy. These include lean meats, eggs, types of fish (salmon, trout and tuna) that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, nuts and seeds and legumes including black-eyed peas and lentils.

 Keep an eye on portion size and look online for new recipes to help you incorporate healthier ingredients into your meals.

3. Get Some Extra Zzzzs!

Experts say getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night is important for your health. The benefits, including a healthier heart and blood vessels (and reduced chance of getting heart disease), improved brain function, elevated mood and increased energy. Further, and this is especially important these days when viruses are running rampant, getting a good night’s sleep can lead to a stronger immune system.

4. Don’t Vape or Smoke!

This one is a no-brainer. Quit smoking. We’ll say it again, “QUIT SMOKING!” Vaping and smoking exponentially increases your risk for heart disease, while quitting smoking reduces heart rate and decreases blood pressure. The bottom line? When you quit smoking, you are also significantly lowering your chances of having a heart attack or stroke

5. Set Up a Heart-Healthy Plan with Your Faith Medical Provider.

Annual checkups with your family doctor are an important part of overall self care. You get your blood pressure checked, you undergo some blood work to check sugar and cholesterol levels and you get weighed. All of these numbers are linked to heart health. An annual checkup can alert you to changes that might mean you need to see a cardiologist.

Don’t put off this important appointment. Write down any questions you have for your doctor and be sure to follow all recommendations including taking prescribed medication.

You only get one heart in this life. It’s your responsibility to take care of it by eating well, getting sleep, remembering to exercise and staying in touch with your doctor. At Faith, we are committed to keeping your heart – and the rest of you – healthy for a very long time.