For a lot of people, Valentine’s Day is about chocolate, candy hearts, and celebrating over a fancy candlelit dinner. And while all of these things can be terrific, Valentine’s Day doesn’t need to be limited to strictly romantic activities. Whether you have a special someone in your life or you happen to be solo this year, there are still ways to show some love to a heart that definitely deserves it … as in your actual heart, which has literally always been there for you.
For these reasons, I’m taking a different approach to observing the holiday this year by celebrating my friendships, my family, and most importantly, my health! After all, the relationship you have with yourself is really the greatest, strongest, and most important one you can have. Doing what’s best for you will only enable you to be a better friend, partner, and person in the future.
We've partnered with StarKist® Tuna and Salmon Creations® Pouches to find simple and actionable ways to stay healthy and show your strongest muscle some love. Here are five ways to strengthen your heart health starting this Valentine’s Day.
1. Schedule Some Laughs
You’ve probably heard the expression, “Laughter is the best medicine” before. But what you might not know is that research suggests laughter can lower stress hormones, reduce artery inflammation, and increase HDL — a “good” cholesterol. The best part? The effects from laughter can last up to 24 hours, which is a great reason to watch your favorite comedy, schedule a meetup with your funniest friend, or head to a stand up show.
2. … Or, Schedule Nothing
Yes, you can literally boost your heart health by doing absolutely nothing! Give yourself the gift of a free schedule so you can stay in and hit the sheets early. A lack of sleep can put you at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease, regardless of outliers like age, weight, or exercise activity.
3. Eat Wisely
Studies show that people with a high red meat intake have an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. The good news is you can reduce your risk by replacing red meat with alternative protein sources, like fish, a couple times a week. Options like tuna and salmon provide lean protein with omega-3 fatty acids (which have been shown to reduce cardiovascular risks) and vitamins like B-12 and D. With 15 delicious varieties from Lemon Pepper to Sriracha, portable StarKist® Tuna and Salmon Creations® Pouches make it easy to add lean protein to any meal or snack.
4. Get Your Heart Pumping
Make a pledge to get your sweat on. Regular exercise and physical activity can help lower blood pressure, which can diminish your overall risk for heart disease. A combination of aerobic workouts (think: walking, running, or swimming) and strength training (like lifting weights) can help make your muscles’ ability to draw oxygen from the circulating blood more efficient, reducing your heart’s overall workload.
5. Acknowledge The Good
Whether you’re coupled up this Valentine’s Day or riding solo, taking the time to reflect on everything that makes you happy in your life creates a positive attitude that can boost your heart health. A positive mental outlook can reduce stress and anxiety, and in turn, reduce your risk of heart disease. Take a moment this February 14th to write down your gratitude list. Not only will your heart swell in the moment, but you’ll be able to return to it in the future for some heartwarming material during a particularly tough day or week.
This post is sponsored by StarKist® Tuna and Salmon Creations® Pouches.