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February is American Heart Month

Posted on February 17, 2012
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Fun at Heart

For a strong, healthy heart, you don't have to suffer or deprive yourself. In fact, many heart-smart habits can be greatly enjoyable.

  • Stay in touch. Adults with a strong social network are more likely to have a healthy heart, research shows.
  • Have a furry friend. Quality time with pets has been shown to lower stress hormones and blood pressure.
  • Don't be a wallflower. Dancing, like any regular aerobic activity, lowers your blood pressure and reduces your risk of heart disease.
  • Dip in. Swimming is another aerobic exercise that, when done regularly, strengthens the heart, builds lean muscle, and gives you a leg up when playing Marco Polo.
  • Play!  To stay young at heart, act like a kid again. Many of your favorite childhood activities - jumping rope, biking, playing ball - still offer terrific cardio workouts.

I Heart Saving

When money's tight, you sort what you need from what you merely want. A healthy heart gets filed in the 'need' category. Fortunately, penny-wise can also be heart-smart.

Try these easy-on-the-wallet steps toward a stronger heart:
 

  • Drink Tea. Favor the heart-healthy varieties: green tea or caffeine-free hibiscus, which is common in herbal blends.
  • Breathe deeply. It's free, and it can soothe a stressed-out heart.
  • Have a little red wine. To help your heart, have just 1 (for women) or 2 (for men) glasses. You save by corking the rest for another day.
  • Go veggie. Beans and soy products are high-fiber, low-fat protein sources that are cheaper than meat.
  • Get moving. Walking is free. And to step it up, a gym membership may be more affordable than you think!

Learn more about union member discounts on health club memberships and healthy living programs like smoking cessation, weight loss and nutrition coaching.
 

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