Your sweetheart may have the key to your heart, but a proper diet and regular physical activity can be the key to a healthy heart.
This Valentine’s Day, skip the chocolates and indulge your sweetheart with a heart-healthy gift or date. There’s no better gift than helping each other maintain lifelong healthy habits to prevent heart disease and stroke, the nation’s No. 1 and No. 5 health threats.
Christa and Patrick Page said couples who sweat together, stay healthy together. The married couple work out together at Gold’s Gym in LaGrange, New York.
“We definitely push each other to do more,” said Christa. “When you’re working out with a companion, you’re more likely to go because they’re depending on you. You don’t back out of it or make excuses not to go.”
Together, the couple take yoga and kickboxing classes, work out with a trainer and enjoy outdoor sports like snowboarding, paddle boarding and mountain biking.
“We just really enjoy each other’s company and push each other to be healthy,” Christa said. “We feel more energized, more connected.”
“With yoga, it’s a great, intense workout,” said Patrick. “But it’s good to relax for an hour and de-stress together.”
The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week to prevent heart disease and stroke.
Here are 14 ways to make this February 14 a sweet and healthy Valentine’s Day.
1. Quality time is one of the most meaningful gifts. Bundle up and take an active mid-winter outing, such as sledding, ice skating or skiing.
2. Build a cozy fire. That’s right, chopping and collecting wood counts as exercise.
3. Try a new physical activity together like indoor rock climbing or indoor golf lessons.
4. Make reservations at your favorite healthy restaurant. Sample a variety of heart-healthy menu items and share a dessert to help control calories.
5. Create a gourmet dinner at home with healthy seasonal foods like sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, apples, pears, carrots and winter squash. Try baking, roasting or steaming, and use lean meats and whole grains.
6. Add the spice of life, but not the sodium. Pledge to reduce sodium in your meals to help prevent high blood pressure and stroke.
7. Roast chestnuts on an open fire. Roasted, unsalted nuts of all varieties are great as appetizers and gifts. You can also add nuts to many dishes, such as green beans with dry roasted almonds.
8. Toast to heart health with non-alcoholic drinks. Enjoy non-alcoholic versions of your favorite cocktails or use less alcohol by mixing with sparkling water or sugar-free juices.
9. Hit the dance floor. What’s more romantic than taking your sweetheart out for a spin on the dance floor? Even if it’s just around the living room, dancing is a great aerobic activity.
10. Walk and talk. Set up regular morning or evening walks together to get in your 30 minutes of exercise while connecting with each other.
11. Meditate and de-stress together. Keeping stress out of a marriage isn’t easy, but building in time to meditate together can help keep you focused on the important things in life.
12. Roll out your yoga mat side-by-side. Get a beginner’s yoga video or try taking a yoga class together.
13. Snuggle up for a nap. Stay healthy through the winter season by getting enough sleep, about eight hours a night, because sleep helps to ward off illness, maintain weight and keep your heart healthy.
14. Work out together. Don’t hit the gym alone. Couples can support and motivate each other, and keep each other committed to achieving fitness goals.
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