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Show Your Heart Some Love

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Take the simple steps to treat your ticker well.

HealthCheckAppleHeartFeb2016Your heart is your hardest working muscle, though you might not give it much thought. Since February is American Heart Month, we are sharing some simple steps you can take to keep your heart working its best all year long.

1. Exercise Regularly
Do something physical that gets your heart rate up — and keeps it elevated — for at least 30 minutes five days per week. Speed walking, jogging, biking, rowing and swimming are all great cardiovascular exercises.

2. Stay Active
In addition to your regular exercise routine, it’s important to move and stay active throughout your day — especially if you sit down at a desk most of the day. Take breaks to walk around and get your limbs moving and blood pumping, which you may find is also great for concentration. Make a habit of taking phone calls while standing or walking around your office instead of sitting at your desk, or walk down the hall to talk to a coworker rather than simply respond to an e-mail.

3. Eat Right
When it comes to a healthy diet, keep it simple: Focus on whole foods like fresh fruits and vegetables; whole grains; lean proteins like fish and chicken; and nuts, seeds and legumes. Keep processed and fatty foods to a minimum.

4. Stop Smoking
Smoking increases your risk for heart disease, as well as so many other health problems — so stop!

5. Manage Stress
When you’re under pressure, your body produces adrenaline, which causes stress on the heart. Exercise, meditation and yoga are all great stress reducers. Counseling and therapy, or simply talking to a trusted friend, can also help.

6. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is essential for helping your body reboot and recover, which improves all aspects of your health, not just the heart. When you sleep, your heart rate and blood pressure go down, which gives your heart a much-needed break. Being well-rested can help you manage cravings for high-calorie foods and give you the energy needed for regular exercise.