The perfect gift this Valentine’s Day is the gift of heart health. Along with Valentine’s Day, February marks American Heart Month, a great time to commit to a healthy lifestyle and make small changes that can lead to a lifetime of heart health.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women.
Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference
Men and women can make a big difference in their heart health by taking these small steps during the month of February and beyond.
- Schedule a visit with your doctor to talk about heart health. It’s important to schedule regular check-ups even if you think you are not sick. Partner with your doctor and health care team to set goals[275 KB] for improving your heart health, and don’t be afraid to ask questions[178 KB] and trust their advice.
- Add exercise to your daily routine. Start off the month by walking 15 minutes, 3 times each week. By mid-month, increase your time to 30 minutes, 3 times each week.
- Increase healthy eating. Cook heart-healthy meals at home at least 3 times each week and make your favorite recipe lower sodium. For example, swap out salt for fresh or dried herbs and spices.
- Take steps to quit smoking. If you currently smoke, quitting can cut your risk for heart disease and stroke. Learn more at CDC’s Smoking and Tobacco Use website .
- Take medication as prescribed. Talk with your doctor about the importance of high blood pressure and cholesterol medications[1.6 MB]. If you’re having trouble taking your medicines on time or if you’re having side effects, ask your doctor for help.