Pump Up the Love: American Heart Health Month

It’s February which means it’s time to break out the chocolate strawberries, but not without thinking about our hearts first! According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. As American Heart Health Month, February is meant to highlight the importance of a heart-healthy lifestyle and identifying heart disease risk factors.  

What Does a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Look Like? 

The ideal lifestyle in any regard looks different for every individual. When it comes to your health, it’s all about balance and taking conscious steps to better your habits. Taking care of your heart simply means moving it and fueling it.  

Fueling Your Heart 

We’ve all heard the cliché ‘you are what you eat’ and we should all know by now why this saying holds true. What we put in our bodies determines exactly what we get out of them! Here are some tips from the American Heart Association and heart-healthy foods to keep in your mind and diet this month (and every month): 

  • A variety of fruits and vegetables 
  • Choose whole grains 
  • Look for minimally processed foods 
  • Healthy protein sources from plants, nuts, or seafood 
  • Lessen added sugars 
  • Cut back on sodium 
  • Limit alcohol 

Eating heart-healthy doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious! The American Heart Association and many other trusted websites have endless recipes with nutrition tips and tricks to stay healthy and happy. 

Moving Your Heart 

It’s time to get active! A large part of keeping your heart healthy comes from moving it. There are two main types of exercise that experts focus on in relation to heart health: aerobic exercise and resistance training… So let’s talk about them! 

Aerobic Exercise 

Are you ever on a walk and suddenly you’re breathing a little harder and your heart is beating a little faster? That little walk is aerobic exercise! Aerobic exercise is any repetitive movement using large muscle groups that increases your heart rate.  

It’s ideal to get 150 minutes of this type of exercise a week, so here are some examples to try: 

  • Running/jogging 
  • Brisk Walk 
  • Jump rope 
  • Dancing 
  • Strength circuits 

Resistance Training 

Also known as strength training, resistance training is just as it sounds; adding resistance to push specific muscles and increase strength. This resistance can be from weights, resistance bands, or simply your own body weight moving against gravity. It’s important to maintain a variety of these exercises to reap the maximum benefits.  


Although not directly related to your heart health, it is important to factor in stretching regularly, especially when exercising. Not only does stretching allow your muscles and joints to move more easily and freely, but it also reduces your body’s risk of injury. 

The Commitment 

As we celebrate American Heart Health Month, it’s important to note that prioritizing our health should be a goal every month of the year. By implementing heart-healthy habits into our routines, like eating healthy or exercising, we can greatly reduce our risk of heart disease and live a heart-healthy lifestyle. Take care of your heart: not just today, but every day.