Embracing simple steps for a healthier heart

Also: Health fairs this month

February, the month of love, is also an opportune time to show some love to your heart. As we observe Heart Health Month, we're reminded of the critical role heart health plays in our overall well-being. Here are some simple, actionable steps you can take right now to embark on a journey toward better heart health.

Step it up with walking. A stroll might seem mundane, but it's a powerhouse of heart health benefits. Walking is a wonderfully accessible form of exercise that bolsters heart strength, aids weight management and uplifts your mood. Start small – a brisk 10-minute daily walk is a great beginning. As you grow comfortable, gradually increase your pace and duration. Remember, every step counts.

Heart-healthy eating made easy. Your heart loves good food just as much as your taste buds do. Incorporate a rainbow of fruits and vegetables into your diet, and choose whole grains over processed ones. A little change, like swapping out salty snacks for nuts or using olive oil instead of butter, can have big impacts on your heart's health. Think of it as a culinary adventure for both your palate and your heart.

Stress less. Our hearts are sensitive to stress. Integrate simple stress reduction techniques into your daily routine. This could be as easy as taking five minutes to breathe deeply, practicing mindfulness, or finding joy in a hobby. Remember, a happy heart is a healthy heart.

Keep a check on your blood pressure. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to blood pressure. Regular monitoring can be a game-changer for heart health. If you're unsure about how to start, our team at Alaska Health Fair can guide you. We also have resources available on our website (www.alaskahealthfair.org, search for “blood pressure”). Keeping track of your numbers at home is a proactive way to stay on top of your heart health.

The gift of good sleep. Never underestimate the power of a good night's sleep. Quality sleep plays a crucial role in heart health. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine, dim those screens, and let your body and heart rest. Sweet dreams indeed lead to a healthy heart.

Rethink your drink and smoke. If smoking or alcohol are part of your routine, consider cutting back. Your heart will thank you for it. Resources are available if you need support, including Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Line (1-800-QUIT-NOW or 1-800-784-8669).

Remember, heart health is about progress, not perfection. Each positive change is a victory for your heart. Let's walk this journey together, one heart-healthy step at a time, toward a future where our hearts beat stronger and healthier.

Upcoming health fairs

Affordable blood tests, starting at $20, are available at all health fairs. For a complete schedule, blood test details, and to make an appointment, visit http://www.alaskahealthfair.org.

Feb. 3, Anchorage First Christian Church, 3031 Latouche, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Feb. 13, Fairbanks - 8am - 1pm at Alaska Health Fair Fairbanks Office Draw, 725 26th Ave., Suite 201, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Feb. 14, Dillingham Dillingham Community Health Fair in the high school gym, 7 a.m. to noon.

Feb. 17, Fairbanks Fairbanks Community Health Fair, Volunteer Clubhouse, 2216 S. Cushman St., 8 a.m. to noon.

Feb. 27, Fairbanks Alaska Health Fair Fairbanks Office Draw, 725 26th Ave., Suite 201, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

March 2, Meadow Lakes Meadow Lakes Elementary School, 1741 Pittman Rd., 8 a.m. to noon.

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