Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Each year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease. Every year, February is celebrated as American Heart Month, and during Hearth Month, the American Heart Association, along with many other health organizations, has designated this month to the overall goal of raising awareness about heart disease and to prevent it — both at home and in the community.

Heart disease can often be prevented through healthy choices. Below are some suggestions on how to get started:

  • Exercise: you can do anything physical that keeps your heart rate up for 20-30 minutes 5 days a week.
  • Limit Your Time Spent Sitting: a steady exercise regime of one hour per day does not make up for an otherwise sedentary lifestyle. If you spend much of your time sitting during the day, be sure to break up long periods of sitting to stand or walk around.
  • Diet: the best way to eat optimally for your heart is to stick with foods including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables. Additionally, studies show that eating low levels of red meat and higher levels of lean meats and fish are good for heart health.
  • Cut The Soda and Juice: one of the fastest ways to clean up your diet is to cut out sugary drinks, like soda and juice. Limit how much you drink your calories.
  • Watch Your Numbers: get regular check-ups to monitor health conditions that affect the heart, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, and make sure they’re under control with medication.
  • Get Adequate Sleep: sleep gives time for the body to reboot and recover. When you’re asleep, you heart rate and blood pressure go down. Adults who reported good quality sleep had healthier arteries. Try to aim for 7 hours of sleep a night.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: too many pounds can add up to increased heart-disease risk. Try to maintain a healthy body weight and BMI for your size.
  • Ditch The Cigarettes: cigarette smoking can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease by two to four times.
  • Find A Stress Relieving Hobby: managing stress is very important for heart health. Hobbies including meditation, yoga, knitting, hiking and many more are key to dealing with stress.

Get started today with working to improve your heart health! For more information on American Heart Month, visit http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/.