Every February, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) marks the month as American Heart Month by raising awareness about heart health and conditions. The NHLBI urges Americans to take action to reduce their risk of developing heart disease.
There’s a lot you can do to prevent heart disease. For example, encourage others to join you. Also, there are dozens of ways to spread heart health messages during February and all year round.
We present to you these 24 ideas to honor American Heart Month:
Social Media: You and your family can use the hashtag #OurHearts to join the movement by sharing on social media how you’re working to be heart-healthy.
Wear Red Day: Every Friday of February, wear red clothing for National Wear Red Day to raise awareness about heart disease and encourage others to do the same. Use NHLBI’s social media materials to help spread the word to be more informed.
Teamwork makes the dream work: Set up an online support group with friends to encourage and motivate each other in your health goals to manage your weight, eat healthier, quit smoking, or work- out.
Daily activity: Commit to a walking schedule with a friend or family member– even if you can’t walk together.
Friendly steps competition: Challenge your family, friends, or groups of friends to participate in a “steps” contest. Use activity trackers to see which team takes the most steps.
Cook healthy recipes: Try a new heart-healthy recipe a couple of times a week. Ask your loved ones to share their favorite heart-healthy recipes with you. Side note: NHLBI offers a variety of recipes on its website.
Make TV time more active: Riding a stationary bike, doing jumping jacks or push-ups during the commercials, or just standing up and stretching is a great way to make television time more active.
Make an official contract: Sign a social support contract with two or three family members or friends who also want to lose weight and place it on a visible place like the refrigerator.
Documentation: make your journey visible and memorable by blogging about your experience, successes, and challenges. Write a blog post about Heart Month, the risk factors for heart disease, and how you’re making heart-healthy changes in your life.
Learn new stuff: Assist to an online cooking class with friends and learn new heart-healthy recipes. Or sign up your kids for one!
Unique dates: Plan a date to go on a hike or a walk, or cook a heart-healthy meal with your loved one on Valentine’s Day.
Channel your inner journalist: Write an article for your organization’s newsletter or the local newspaper about Heart Month and ways to keep your heart healthy. Side note: If you don’t have time, NHLBI has pre-written articles you can use. Find graphics, videos, flyers, and article samples at nhlbi.nih.gov/heartmonth.
Help the community: Send a press release to your local paper to promote Heart Month activities within your community, and pitch them stories of how community members are taking steps to prevent heart disease.
Make sure everyone is informed: Post flyers with heart-healthy messages at local clinics or pharmacies.
Inspire with pins: Create a Pinterest board with heart-healthy recipes and share it with your co-workers, friends, and family. To make it more impactful: Change it to a public board and encourage others to add their favorite recipes.
Information on the go: Ask if you can insert a fact sheet with heart-health information in grocery bags or prescription bags at your local grocery store or pharmacy.
Reliable information: Share NHLBI’s slides as part of a heart-health, online educational presentation, distribute during faith-based services, or show on Zoom or informational screens such as those in local clinics, or anywhere there are screens to share information.
Statistics: Encourage your local Representatives to post statistics about coronary heart disease in your state on their social media sites.
Reach out to a professional: Ask health care providers to give a presentation to your organization about ways to prevent heart disease.
Be a host to an online event: Host an online community event where families can be active and learn about local health resources.
Testing saves lives: Partner with a local hospital to do heart screenings such as those for blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and body mass index (BMI).
Spread the word about the importance of physical activity: Work with local recreation and fitness centers to spread the word online about the importance of physical activity to prevent heart disease.
Make sure to use reliable materials and resources: Use NHLBI’s Heart Month materials. Share the materials with your organization’s members, your workplace wellness team, and other health advocates to encourage them to champion Heart Month.
The most important element, constant checkups: Go see your cardiologist or Primary Care Physician to check on your heart health!
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