Did you know that people who have close relationships at home, at work, or in their community tend to be healthier and live longer? According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the reason we are more successful at meeting our health goals is working on them with others. The NHLBI’s #OurHearts movement is aimed at promoting heart health and encouraging people to protect and strengthen their hearts with the support of others.
Did you know heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States?1 Most middle-aged and young adults have one or more risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, being overweight. Having multiple risk factors increases your risk for heart disease.
What Can We Do to Protect Our Heart?
Feeling positive and connected to others can help benefit our overall health, including managing blood pressure and weight. Having people in our lives who motivate and care for us helps, as do feelings of closeness and companionship. Here are a few tips to help protect your heart.
- Be more physically active.
- Invite a friend or family member to walk with you on a regular basis. Ask a friend or family member to sign up for an exercise class.
- Eat a nutritious diet. Follow NHLBI’s Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Join with a family member or friend and share low-sodium recipes. Agree to do healthy activities, like walking or cooking healthy meals.
- Quit smoking. Join a support group to stop smoking. Research shows that people are much more likely to quit if their spouse, friend, or sibling does. There are free resources available to support your efforts, such as BeTobaccoFree.hhs.gov and Smokefree.gov.
- Reduce stress. Managing stress helps heart health. Set goals with a friend or family member to do a relaxing activity like yoga, walking, or meditation.
- Get plenty of sleep. Sleeping 7-9 hours a night helps improve heart health. Instead of looking at the phone or TV before bed, try to relax by listening to music, reading, or taking a bath.
You don’t have to make big changes all at once, taking small steps will help you reach your heart health goals.
- Take Action for Your Heart: Get Started! Fact Sheet | NHLBI, NIH [Internet]. www.nhlbi.nih.gov. 2024 [cited 2024 Jan 29]. Available from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/resources/take-action-your-heart-get-started-fact-sheet
- Put Your Heart into Getting Active & Eating Healthy Tip Sheet | NHLBI, NIH [Internet]. www.nhlbi.nih.gov. 2022. Available from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/resources/put-your-heart-getting-active-eating-healthy-tip-sheet