Get Healthy Carson City: Love your heart

This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.

Last weekend, many professed their love to their sweethearts as part of the Valentine’s Day tradition. Flowers, candies, dinner out ... for many, this was an opportunity to shower their nearest and dearest with a dramatic display of affection. Imagine if we all went out of our way to show our own hearts that same amount of consideration. February isn’t just Valentine’s Day, it’s also Heart Month.

What are some ways to show your heart just how much it means to you? Check out the tips below to keep the love going this February.

Eat for heart health: Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein is recommended for heart health and weight management. By choosing foods low in sodium and saturated fat, you can show your heart some love.

Chill out. Reduce stress in your life. Take a few minutes each day to relax or do something for yourself. Take deep breaths, go on a walk, or enjoy the outdoors. Aerobic exercise is a great way to aid in stress reduction and enhance mood, as is spending time with friends. Less stress can lead to a healthier heart.

Get moving: Regular exercise can not only reduce stress, but can also help you to be in better cardiovascular shape — and that’s great news for our heart. You can gain important health benefits with 2 1/2 hours of moderate intensity exercise or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity throughout the week.

If you aren’t exercising regularly, talk to your doctor about it and start slow: some activity is always better than no kick butts.

One of the best health decisions you can make for your heart and for the rest of your body is to quit smoking. If you are a smoker, your risk of heart disease, lung disease, stroke, and cancer are all increased.

Do your heart and yourself a favor and make the choice to kick the tobacco habit. If you need help or encouragement, call the QuitLine at 800-784-8669 for free resources to help you quit tobacco.

Heart disease is an important public health concern. Over time, risk factors like overweight and obesity, smoking, diabetes, stress and alcohol abuse, combined with family history, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, may lead to an unhealthy heart. Negative health outcomes, including chest pain, heart attack and stroke can result, but there are steps you can take now to protect your heart health.

Start showing your heart some love today.

For more information about Health Department services, check out our website at or “like” us on Facebook at


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