Ah, February. While many of us tend to think of the shortest month of the year as the season of love and romance, it’s also a month devoted to the heart in a very different way. February is American Heart Month. Bearing very sobering statistics, heart disease claims the lives of many every year and is the number 1 killer of women in the U.S. It’s also a disease that is largely preventable with diet, exercise, stress management, and physical rest. Not to minimize the diet and exercise part, we do know a thing or two about the latter. And, really, our heart-healthy tips are absolutely affordably-indulgent. (No tofu and carrot sticks here!)
For a healthier lifestyle, treat yourself to…
Have a Cup of (Green) Tea: With its powerful antioxidants, green tea is widely recommended by healthcare professionals for a number of health benefits. And, in fact, a recent study from the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation found that human blood vessels functioned better within 30 minutes of drinking a single cup. (Source: WebMD.) Besides being so relaxing, green tea is also an affordable luxury.
For about $10, pick up Keurig K-Cups featuring Bigelow Green Tea at Walmart.com or at your local store.
A Yoga Session: Yes, time is hard to come by but in as little as 12 weeks after incorporating yoga into your day, many see a reduction in cholesterol and lower blood pressure. (Source: American Heart Association.) As a bonus, you may experience a greater feeling of relaxation, leading to better sleep and rest.
Whether for cardio or relaxation benefits, you should always consult your own doctor before beginning an exercise regimen. When you are ready, the yoga set featured above garners rave reviews.
Read a Good Book or Begin a Journal: No matter your favorite book or magazine genre, simply taking a few minutes to read each day can reduce your stress level and, therefore, benefit your heart. The American Heart Association recommends finding just 15 minutes in your day to do something enjoyable, whether reading, having a cup of tea with friends, or writing in a journal.
Recording the day’s events or special memories in a journal like the one featured above both beats stress and creates a lasting memory to share with others or just yourself.
Enjoy Aromatherapy During a Relaxing Bath: When it comes to rest, relaxation, and better sleep, aromatherapy and a warm soak each evening can be the ultimate indulgence. Even for just a few minutes between the kids’ bedtime and your own, there’s plenty of time to reap the benefits of this lavish, beneficial stress management technique.
For the ultimate multi-tasker, try this lavender-scented bath product (less than $5!) to calm and relax for a better night’s sleep and, ultimately, greater stress management.
This year, instead of anticipating candy and chocolates for Valentine’s Day, celebrate good heart health with one or all of these feel-good ideas and products.