With All Our Hearts

Thanks to Valentine’s Day, February is the month of hearts. Loved ones exchange heart-shaped boxes of chocolates or heart-shaped pieces of jewelry while wearing shirts and socks with hearts on them. And social media sites like Pinterest are awash with DIY projects featuring hearts and recipes featuring heart-shaped foods, from cookies to pizza to sushi.

However, Cupid’s favorite day is not the only reason why February is the month of hearts — it also happens to be American Heart Month.

In fact, it was all the way back in 1963 that President Lyndon B. Johnson first proclaimed February as American Heart Month. According to the original proclamation, heart disease was responsible for more than one-half of all deaths each year. In 2011, about 787,000 Americans died from heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, which was about one of every three deaths in the US, according to the American Heart Association. In fact their statistics show that an American dies from heart disease about once every 90 seconds.

While all this may sound rather dire, the good news is that there’s lots of things you can do starting this month to celebrate your heart and the hearts of your loved ones:

  • Make Healthy Changes — The American Heart Association’s website, Heart.org, has a variety of resources to help you start making healthier choices for your heart, from information on good nutrition to stress management techniques to support for quitting smoking. You can also sign up on their site to receive Healthy Living tips every month.
  • Get Moving — Why not get your heart pumping and support a local cause? There’s a number of run/walks held in the Sacramento area this month, including the 13th Annual Valentine Run/Walk on February 13th and the Colon Cancer Alliance’s 2016 Sacramento Undy Run/Walk on February 27.
  • Wear Red — February 6th is National Red Wear Day, which is a national movement aimed to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. You can do your part by hosting a Wear Red Day Event at work or school, starting a fundraiser, shopping for the cause, or volunteering your time. Visit GoRedForWomen.org for more information.

So remember this February to show some love to all the hearts in your life!