Hearts and the month of February go together like peanut butter and grape jelly. Conversation hearts, chocolate hearts and your own heart. February 1 kicked off American Heart Month, which focuses on the importance of adding heart-healthy behaviors to your lifestyle.

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States as well as a leading cause of death among men. Heart disease encompasses any problem related to plaque buildup in the walls of the arteries and can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Luckily, heart disease is highly preventable.

Heart Benefits of Cardio

Regular physical activity is the best way to prevent and to alleviate symptoms of heart disease. It’s recommended you get 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week which equals 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

Exercise offers additional benefits for your heart, too. This month, think of them as a special Valentine’s Day gift to your biggest fan, yourself.

Strengthen Muscle
The heart is a muscle and it’s strengthened through exercise just like your biceps or calves. As your heart grows stronger, it begins to work more efficiently at pumping blood through the body and works with less effort.

Increase Endurance
Contrary to popular belief, endurance is important for everyone, not just marathon runners and cheetahs. Improved endurance makes everyday activities such as walking up the stairs and household chores a whole lot easier.

Improve Oxygen Use
Cardio exercise, such as running, biking or swimming, is crucial to keeping your heart beating in top shape. Over time, your circulation improves and can help lower your heart rate and blood pressure. 

American Heart Association
University of Maryland Medical Center


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