Vegetables and fruit with heart shape as concept of cardiovascular health on wooden rustic table.

Taking Care of #OurHearts in February!

How are you doing? Welcome to February! While it may be the shortest month it’s an important one. February is all about #OurHearts and how to take care of it. Read on!

When we take care of #OurHearts we’re taking care of the rest of our bodies too. At this time of year, you might be thinking of increasing the fruit and vegetables you eat and maybe adding more fiber to your diet (I’m looking at you quinoa!). Perhaps you’re trying to improve the quality of rest you get, concentrating on building a healthy social life, and managing stress. Sounds simple right? Why is it so hard? Let’s make it easier, starting with fruit and vegetables and ending with physical activity.

We know fruit and vegetables are good for our bodies. Did you know they are especially good for #OurHearts? It can feel challenging to get five servings of fruit and vegetables a day. We will try to make it effortless! Read on for tips for you and the picky eater(s) in your life. Whoever they are, we want them to eat their broccoli too!

Since the goal is to get five servings of fruits and vegetables a day consider the 1-2-3 approach. Aim for one fruit or vegetable at breakfast, two for lunch, and three for dinner. Spreading out servings throughout the day can make it a cinch. That’s an apple or a banana at breakfast, hummus and carrot sticks at lunch, and broccoli with red peppers at dinner. Oops, that doesn’t add up to 1-2-3, it’s five, not six! But the goal is five so it’s a win for everybody. 

It might be easy for you to try the 1-2-3 for yourself but what about that picky eater? Try hiding them. Do they like mashed potatoes? Swap out half of the potatoes for cauliflower. They won’t know the difference. What about a smoothie for breakfast? It’s easy to throw some greens in with the blueberries. Grate carrots or zucchini into your burgers. Swap out mushrooms for half of the ground meat in spaghetti or add pureed butternut squash to the macaroni or cheese. Most important, don’t give up. Work with your child’s pediatrician for more tips. Lastly, get your child involved with preparing their food. They WILL eat food they help prepare.

Young girl helping mother cooking
Young girl helping mother cooking

After that healthy breakfast, you might even be feeling super jazzed and ready to try a few minutes of physical activity. Yay! #OurHearts will love you for it. Whether you’ve been physically active your whole life or just starting out switching gears to exercise can feel overwhelming. But, just like having your fruit and vegetables throughout the day, try an exercise *bite*.

Portrait of a happy senior woman making a heart shape with her hands after exercising on the riverbank.
Active senior woman making a heart with her hands

Exercise bites are short, just a few minutes, and can be done anywhere anytime. Don’t have time to go to the gym? What about going for a walk around the block? That simple act helps your immune system, decreases anxiety, and boosts your mood. Unable to leave the house? What about turning on some tunes and having a dance party while folding clothes? Just a few exercise bites may provide you with all the activities you need to keep #OurHearts healthy.

Since we’re here today to talk about keeping #OurHearts healthy let’s review the basics of physical activity:

It’s recommended adults do 150 to 300 minutes (2.5 hours to 5 hours) per week. That includes brisk walking, working in the garden, cleaning your house, or, even better, going sledding (it is Massachusetts after all!). It is also recommended to do two sessions of muscle-strengthening a week. Strengthening your muscles is not just good for #OurHearts, it’s also good for our bone health and protects muscle mass. If you’re just starting out, talk to your healthcare provider first and start slow. Remember, these are habits you want to maintain for your life not just for the next few weeks. Even better, the healthy lifestyle habits you develop will motivate your children too!

What’s the *best* exercise? The one you enjoy! And what you enjoy may be different than someone else. It’s *your* activity! For more tips on physical activity, check out our Healthy Moves page here

A mature Mexican woman jogging on a trail
Mexican Woman Jogging

For more inspiration, check out the free exercise videos available. Click on the link here.

As always, thanks for stopping by. We enjoy the company!

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