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THE ECHELON BLOG

How to Take Care of Your Heart with the American Heart Association

American Heart Association Logo and Echelon logo with text "Reclaim Your Rhythm"
by Bess Turner
February 13, 2022
4 min read

February is American Heart Month, and Echelon is excited to support the American Heart Association's efforts to help our members learn more about the importance of heart health this month and all year round. Especially in the past few years, more people than ever are in danger of suffering from heart disease — one in four U.S. adults sit for longer than eight hours each day and this low level of physical activity can have negative consequences on both physical and mental health.

This month is the perfect time to prioritize your heart and take control of your physical health and mental well-being. The American Heart Association offers five tips to help you “reclaim your rhythm” for a healthy heart.

Mellow Out & Reduce Stress

Everyone experiences stress, but you may not know the long-term impact that stress can have on your heart. Physically, stress is linked to poor health behaviors such as smoking, lack of physical activity, and an unhealthy diet. Mentally, stress can cause major problems such as depression, anxiety, and anger. Your heart can bear the burden of these conditions with an irregular heart rate and rhythm, increased blood pressure, and reduced blood flow to the heart. A great way to manage stress is to exercise regularly. 

Not feeling up to a hard-core cardio class? Walking is a great way to help bring your mind to the present and work through your stress. 

On February 16, Echelon’s Healthy Hearts Day, Try:
Treadmill Class Walk 20 - Healthy Hearts with Jaime at 6:45 am ET

Ready for a cardiovascular challenge? Endurance rowing is a total-body workout that will help build muscular strength — including a stronger heart!

On February 16, Echelon’s Healthy Hearts Day, Try:
Rower Endurance 30 - Healthy Hearts with Jaime at 9:00 am ET

Move to the Music

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. Moderate-intensity exercise can be anything from brisk walking to gardening; you are actively moving, but you can still easily talk without getting out of breath. 

This means that it doesn’t have to be too hard! You can lower your risk of heart disease and improve your mental health if you just move more and sit less. Try adding more activity into your day and celebrate each step as a step towards a healthier lifestyle.

On February 16, Echelon’s Healthy Hearts Day, Try:
Connect Bike Class Low Impact 20 - Healthy Hearts with Nicole and special American Heart Association guest, Jamie Johnson, at 10 am ET

 OR

FitPass Class Strength 10 Core - Healthy Hearts with Nicole at 2:30 pm ET

Feed Your Soul, Rock Your Recipes

There is no doubt that food impacts your health, including your heart health. Take the time to learn the basics of good nutrition. Making simple changes to your diet can help you and your family stay healthy.

Speaking of family, one of the best ways to make a healthy change in your life is to eat meals together as a family. Family meals allow for a chance to connect and decompress. Regular meals at home with family reduce stress, boost self-esteem, and make the whole family feel connected. For families with children, research demonstrates that children who regularly eat with their families have a higher intake of fruits and vegetables.

Stay on Beat with Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, also known as the “silent killer”, is a leading cause and controllable risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and a variety of other fatal diseases when left undetected. The best way to protect yourself is to know your numbers, manage stress appropriately, and make the commitment to move your body regularly!  

Start by getting your blood pressure checked by a medical professional and understanding what those numbers mean so you can effectively monitor it on your own. The American Heart Association’s blood pressure chart can also provide helpful guidance. Once you have an understanding of where your blood pressure stands, commit to regular exercise — even a brisk walk for 30 minutes, 5 times per week can make a huge difference! 

Find exercises you love and mix them up often to keep your fitness routine exciting.

On February 16, Echelon’s Healthy Hearts Day, try these classes:
Connect Bike Class Fusion 30 - Healthy Hearts with Janet and special American Heart Association guest, Jamie Johnson, at 8 am ET

OR

Fitness Mirror Class Strength 20 - Healthy Hearts with Lindsay at 9:30 am ET

Keep the Beat & Learn Hands-Only CPR

Once you’ve started taking care of your own heart, you can help others by learning CPR. 

When a person has a cardiac arrest, survival depends on immediately receiving CPR from someone nearby. Help your community reclaim their rhythm by learning the 2 simple steps of Hands-Only CPR

  1. Call 911 or have someone nearby call, keep your phone on speaker mode.
  2. Push down hard and fast in the center of the chest at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute (a song like “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees can help you keep pace).

For further training, find a formal CPR course near you.

The changes needed to improve your heart health don’t have to be drastic: add physical activity to your routine, spend time with loved ones, and learn the basics of nutrition. You can then help others by learning CPR. Don’t wait to reclaim your rhythm and start taking care of your heart today.

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To join the fight against heart disease and support a great cause, make a donation to the American Heart Association in honor of American Heart Month.  

Want to improve your own heart health and find a fitness routine you’ll love? Learn more about becoming an Echelon member here