FEBRUARY IS AMERICAN HEART HEALTH MONTH
Take Charge of Your Heart’s Health this Month
February is American Heart Health Month and following decreased physical activity due to COVID-19, the YMCA of Greater Nashua urges our community members to get a blood pressure screening. Revised blood pressure guidelines from American Heart Association mean that nearly half of all Americans (46 percent) have high blood pressure. High blood pressure is often referred to as “The Silent Killer” because there are typically no warning signs or symptoms.
While high blood pressure and heart disease are serious conditions, the good news is a healthy heart is an achievable goal through lifestyle changes such as lowering sodium intake, eating healthier, and getting more physical activity. Getting help can be as easy as contacting the Y and taking part in the upcoming Wintervention Challenge or the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program.
The YMCA of Greater Nashua encourages heart health and overall well-being to all of the Greater Nashua community through participation in the YMCA Wintervention Challenge. We believe 2021 should be the year to focus on ourselves. The Y is here to help you do just that. Starting February 1, join us for Wintervention – a five week program designed to support your journey towards a better, healthier you. For just 20 minutes a day, five days a week, we challenge you to get moving this winter! By yourself, with a buddy or your whole family, we’ll come together with a common purpose, moving beyond the winter doldrums and into a NEW YOU! Each week, our Y team will motivate and inspire you with themes designed to open participants up to a purpose driven life that is focused on building strength in mind, body and spirit.
5 weeks. 20 minutes a day. 100s of teammates. 1 better you. Take the Challenge, have some fun, explore the outdoors and give yourself a good Wintervention!
FEBRUARY PROGRAM EXPRESS TERMS
The February 3-Week Program Express Term Starts February 1! Join us and try something new in February. Express Terms are being offered to provide greater program flexibility and variety as parents, families and community members navigate the complexities of differing school and work schedules. The short 3 week schedule allows participants to try a program for smaller time frame and investment. If you like it you can keep it going with another express term or transition to an 8 week version.
YMCA’s DIABETES PREVENTION PROGRAM
The YMCA of Greater Nashua is increasing the availability of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program – which is part of the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program helps adults at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles to help reduce their chances of developing the disease. Type 2 diabetes is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and people with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or suffer a stroke as those who do not have it.
The Y Diabetes Prevention Program provides a supportive environment where participants work together in a small group to learn about eating healthier, increasing their physical activity and making other behavior changes with the goal of reducing body weight by 7 percent in order to reduce their risk for developing diabetes. A trained Lifestyle Coach leads the program over a 12-month period. Increased physical activity and moderate weight loss not only reduce diabetes risk, but also have an impact on lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.
In addition to monitoring your blood pressure and exercising, reducing sodium intake is a great way to keep your heart healthy. Per the American Heart Association (AHA), too much sodium in your system puts an extra burden on your heart and blood vessels. In some people, this may lead to or raise high blood pressure. Everyone, including kids, should reduce their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day (about 1 teaspoon of salt). Having less sodium in your diet may help you lower or avoid high blood pressure.
AMERICAN HEART MONTH TIPS
It’s important to use this month to get a blood pressure screening and focus on becoming heart healthy. Below are tips for the whole family to become heart healthy this February.
♥ Get Physical: Being physically active every day is fun and can improve the function of your heart. Plan and schedule opportunities for active play; for example, include a brisk 10-minute trip around the block after meals or a 10-minute walking break during the day. If your family enjoys active video games, select versions that require moving the body’s large muscle groups while playing.
♥ Take a Snooze: Lack of sleep can be associated with elevated cholesterol and blood pressure. Adults need at least seven, but no more than nine hours of sleep at night to aid with the prevention of heart disease. Children need 10-12 hours of sleep per night. Develop bedtime routines for the whole family to assist with falling asleep faster and staying asleep.
♥ Shape Up Those Recipes: Makeover your family’s favorite recipes by reducing the amount of salt and saturated fat and substituting a lower fat food without sacrificing tastes. For example, use low-fat yogurt instead of sour cream and skip the seasoning packet and use pepper and olive oil instead. Read food labels to learn more about what is in the package, select foods that have less than 1,000 mg of sodium per serving.
♥ Feeling the Pressure: Revised blood pressure guidelines from American Heart Association mean that nearly half of all Americans (46 percent) have high blood pressure. Lowering or maintaining normal blood pressure can greatly reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. Start self-monitoring your blood pressure and know the numbers. Discuss the results with you doctor if needed.
♥ Play Together: Spending time together as a family is a great way to reduce stress, which is important to heart health. Make homemade valentines for your children’s classmates or build a snow fort together in the yard or the park.
“There are many factors in keeping your heart healthy and having a handle on your blood pressure and sodium intake are effective tools in the preventing heart disease,” said Kim Adie, Healthy Living Director. “Whether you have high blood pressure, are at risk for heart disease or want to keep your heart healthy the Y has resources that can help achieve better health.”
The YMCA of Greater Nashua offers a community of diverse individuals who can support all people in meeting their health and well-being goals. Learn more by visiting www.nmymca.org or stopping into your local Y.
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