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February is all about your heart, and we’re not just talking about the decor on Valentine’s Day. It also happens to be Heart Health Awareness Month!

Your heart pumps blood through your veins and keeps you happy and healthy. Moreover, you must take care of your heart to ensure that you live a long and balanced life.

With 12 Canadian adults with diagnosed heart disease dying every hour, we all must educate ourselves on how to reduce risk and stay heart-healthy.

Here are a few tips to keep on your radar during Heart Health Awareness Month.

Eat healthy foods

Unsurprisingly, a nutrient-rich diet is essential for heart health and warding off cardiovascular diseases. You can keep your cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure at normal levels with the best foods for your heart.

These include leafy greens, whole grains, antioxidant-rich berries, and dishes rich in fatty acids like fish.

healthy meal

Stress less

It’s no secret that stress is bad for your health. But many of us don’t understand the extent of how much damage it can do.

According to the American Heart Association, chronic stress has been known to increase blood pressure and heart rate, along with contributing to artery inflammation that advances risk for stroke or cardiovascular disease.

This is bad news for those with anxiety or depression. And serves as a wake-up call to pay greater attention to our physical and mental health needs.

Whether it’s spending time with friends or speaking with your boss about your workload, lowering your stress levels can help improve your heart health.

Adjust your sleep schedule

deep sleep

Sleep is arguably the most peaceful time of the day. It’s a period where you get a break from daily responsibilities and stress.

Coincidentally, your body also puts things on pause. As you snooze, your body processes all the activities of the day and uses this as a restorative time for your health.

It’s no surprise that regular sleep has been linked to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, along with less risk of stroke and heart attacks.

Getting seven to nine hours of quality shut-eye each night helps your body prevents the buildup of plaque on your heart. That leads to a healthier life for you and this essential organ.

Exercise regularly

take the stairs

Your heart is perhaps the most powerful muscle in your body. And just like any muscle, it’s strengthened with the help of physical activity.

Exercising regularly will help to improve circulation, keep you at a healthy weight, and ward off high blood pressure and cholesterol. And all are key to maintaining heart health.

The best part? You don’t need to hit the gym daily or become a marathon runner to achieve these objectives.

Even the simplest activity, such as a midday walk between work meetings or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, can help you with your heart goals.

Do yoga

yoga for stress relief

We’ve told you about the benefits of physical activity, but did you know that yoga, in particular, is known to be incredible for your heart?

It helps to improve your physical and mental health, both crucial for maintaining this organ. Stretching provides a low-impact exercise that helps to lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

Plus it isn’t too strenuous on your heart rate like an intense cardio session may be. Meanwhile, these physical health effects are boosted as your emotional wellness increases.

Yoga reduces stress and delivers more of the “good” types of hormones, including serotonin and dopamine, which lead you to a healthy mind and heart.

Grab your yoga mat and prepare for the best addition to your wellness routine!