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Happy Heart Day

We here at Burnett & Williams believe that any day of the year is a good day to make healthy lifestyle choices. This Valentine’s Day our hearts are with The American Heart Association, and their continuous mission to help prevent heart disease. Every year since 1963, the AHA has celebrated February as American Heart Month.

Photo, Emily Balser

To do our part to help raise awareness about heart disease, we’ve hung red buntings at our Leesburg location, and we also want to share a few tips on how to keep your ticker in tip-top shape.

Heart disease is the world’s No. 1 killer, and the cause of 1 out of every 4 deaths in the United States. And while many of us assume that our hearts are fine, and that as long as we see our doctor for a yearly checkup we have nothing to worry about, the stark reality is that heart disease is killing far too many of us. All of us at Burnett & Williams are dedicated to doing everything we can to help make our community stronger and healthier, and we think it is vitally important to get the word out about taking good care of your heart.

One thing that many people may not realize is that heart disease can often be prevented, simply through smart lifestyle choices.

The food we eat has a lot to do with the health of our hearts, and small changes like swapping out salt for flavorful herbs when you are cooking your favorite meals can have a big impact on heart health over time. Adding a few more colorful vegetables and fruits to your plate, and putting an unusual new whole grain–like quinoa or farro or barley–into rotation in your kitchen can pay health dividends. The internet is a great resource for searching up heart-healthy recipes, or grab a cookbook from your local library and have some fun in the kitchen!

Getting up and moving our bodies is another key to heart health, and you don’t have to train for a marathon to see major benefits from adding some exercise to your routine. You can sneak exercise into your day in all kinds of ways: park your car at the far end of the lot when you go grocery shopping, so you walk a bit extra going in and out of the store; skip the elevator and head for the stairs when you get to work; when you are on the phone, make a habit of walking around instead of sitting at your desk or at the kitchen table. The key is to find activities and exercises that you enjoy doing, and build them into your everyday routine.

We can all play a part in helping our communities to become as heart-healthy as possible. Encourage your kids’ teachers and school administrators to build more physical activity into every school day, and to provide heart-healthy school meals with plenty of whole grains and fruits and vegetables, minus the added sugar. After all, healthy–or unhealthy–habits start young!  Ask your local doctors and nurses to speak out about ways to prevent heart disease, which can open up dialogue and awareness about heart health in your community. Start a walking group with some friends, host a recipe-swap gathering, or sign up for a local 5K race with a neighbor. There are all kinds of ways to be healthier and decrease your risk of heart disease, and this Valentine’s Day is a good time to commit to paying a little more attention to your heart!