Heart health facts to share with your employees this month.
February is American Heart Month - a time dedicated to focusing on your cardiovascular health. It’s also the perfect time to check in on your employees’ health, share knowledge, and support them in living a healthy, happy life. This year, the CDC is encouraging a focus on women’s heart health, with a staggering number of women (nearly half of U.S. women) who don’t recognize that heart disease is the leading cause of death for women.
American Heart Month Tips
Here are 10 tips to share with your employees (download the printable version here) to better support your team’s cardiovascular health during American Heart Month, plus 5 surprising facts:
- Move More, Sit Less: Encourage regular physical activity by incorporating movement breaks throughout the workday. Encourage walking meetings, stretching sessions, or quick walks around the office to get the blood flowing.
- Prioritize Exercise: Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. Whether it’s jogging, cycling, swimming, or dancing, find activities you enjoy and make them a regular part of your routine.
- Embrace a Heart-Healthy Diet: Fill your plates with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Limiting saturated fats, sodium, and added sugars can also help support heart health.
- Drink Plenty of Water: Staying hydrated is crucial for overall health, including heart health. Choose water over sugary beverages to help maintain hydration and support heart function.
- Get Outside: Spending time outdoors can have numerous benefits for heart health, including reducing stress levels and increasing physical activity. Take outdoor breaks during the workday or participate in outdoor activities on weekends when possible.
- Manage Stress: Chronic stress can take a toll on the heart. Stress-reducing activities such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or spending time with loved ones can alleviate stress.
- Make Your Own Meals: Prepare your own meals whenever possible. Cooking at home allows for better control over ingredients and portion sizes, making it easier to maintain a heart-healthy diet.
- Know Your Numbers: Regular check-ups with a healthcare provider are essential for monitoring blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and other key indicators of heart health. Stay on top of your health by scheduling routine screenings and check-ups.
- Practice Portion Control: Overeating can contribute to weight gain and increase the risk of heart disease. Mindful eating practices, such as paying attention to hunger and fullness cues, and avoiding oversized portions can support heart health.
- Prioritize Sleep: Adequate sleep is essential for heart health. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night by establishing a consistent bedtime routine and creating a comfortable sleep environment.
5 Surprising Heart Health Facts
While you might be familiar with the basics of maintaining a healthy heart – exercise, balanced diet, regular check-ups – there are lesser-known insights that can profoundly impact your well-being. Here are 5 facts about heart health that might surprise you:
- Heart health can be tied to oral health: Research suggests a surprising link between oral health and heart health. Poor oral hygiene and gum disease have been associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Emotional health can significantly impact heart health: Chronic stress, depression, and loneliness have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and adverse cardiovascular events. This highlights the importance of managing stress and prioritizing mental well-being for a healthy heart.
- Heart health is important at every age, from childhood through old age: While the average age at first heart attack is 65.6 years for males and 72 years for females, surprisingly, risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity, can begin to develop early in life. Promoting heart-healthy behaviors and lifestyle habits from a young age can have long-term benefits for cardiovascular health.
- Not all heart attacks present with the classic symptoms of chest pain and discomfort: Some heart attacks, known as "silent heart attacks," may occur without noticeable symptoms or with symptoms that are mistaken for other conditions. These silent heart attacks can still cause significant damage to the heart muscle and increase the risk of future cardiovascular events.
- Climate change can have unexpected implications for heart health: Rising temperatures, air pollution, and extreme weather events associated with climate change can exacerbate cardiovascular risk factors and increase the incidence of heart-related conditions such as heart attacks and strokes. Promoting environmental sustainability is important for protecting heart health on a global scale.
By implementing these tips and fostering a culture of support for heart health in the workplace, you can help your employees live healthier, happier lives during American Heart Month and beyond.
Check out our blog to learn more about supporting the well-being of your employees, and how a benefit like FitOn Health can provide real results for both your people and your business.
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