February is American Heart Month, which makes this a great time to focus on your cardiovascular health…and the cardiovascular health of those who mean the most to you! We’re jumping on board with the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to encourage you to pick up a new heart-healthy habit this year! Developing new habits is hard, but our team is here to support you! Plus, when you have a support system, making those small changes is a lot easier than trying to do them on your own.
Our team cares about each of our clients and your health is important to us for several reasons, including:
- Our first priority is our clients and their overall health. Heart disease is a leading cause of death for women and men in the United States, and many Americans remain at risk of getting it, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).
- It’s never too late to make a change! A study presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference in Dallas, demonstrated that improving your heart health in midlife and beyond led to a lower prevalence of stroke and dementia risk factors later in life. (AHA, 2/14/23)
- Your cardiovascular health plays a major role in your overall physical and mental health. Research from the AHA has demonstrated that significantly lowering your systolic blood pressure could be associated with your body’s ability to clear out brain toxins and metabolic byproducts resulting in better overall brain health. (AHA, 2/14/23)
- For our small business clients, health employees have been shown to be more productive and engaged. Retaining top talent is important in today’s economy, so finding ways to encourage your employees to prioritize their health can go a long way.
Our team spends a lot of time answering questions about life insurance and employee benefits, including health insurance. The health of individuals and employees can have an impact on these two areas. So, while we aren’t medical professionals and we can’t promise or guarantee results, we would like to share some tips and heart healthy ideas from some of the leading heart health organizations.
- Chronic stress often leads to high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and poor sleep. It can even impact your lungs and your gut. Limiting stress can be challenging, but you can change how you respond to it. Did you know that your body has a built-in, healthy relaxation response. When that’s triggered your breathing and heart rate slow down, and your blood pressure decreases. Try a guided meditation or deep breathing exercises to help trigger your body’s relaxation response.
- Feeling connected with others and having positive, close relationships benefit our overall health, including our blood pressure and weight. Having people in our lives who motivate and care for us helps, as do feelings of closeness and companionship. Reach out to your friends and family and look for fun, heart healthy activities to do together, such as walking or taking a yoga class.
- Develop a healthy sleep routine that allows you to sleep 7–9 hours a night to help improve heart health. Find ways to de-stress before bed, such as turning off the screens, sticking to a regular bedtime, and reading or listening to music.
- Find ways to be more active. Aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise every week. This could be walking, swimming, biking, dancing, or even vacuuming! If it is too daunting to carve out a 30 minute block of time in one day, aim for three blocks of 10 minutes. Moving every day helps relieve stress, improves your mood, gives you an energy boost, helps with sleep, and lowers your risk of chronic disease.
- If you’re a small business owner, check out the resources offered by the American Heart Association for your team. You’ll find free tools and resources to help your employees eat well, move more, reduce stress, and develop good sleep habits. Check them out here: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/company-collaboration/well-being-works-better/employee-resources