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Woman checking her blood pressure

Celebrating American Heart Month

5 Small Steps to a Healthy Heart


February is American Heart Month, and with recently published research indicating blood pressure control has worsened in both men and women since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to use this month to get a blood pressure screening and focus on becoming heart healthy. Below are tips for you to become heart-healthy this February.


1. Get Moving:

Being physically active every day is not only fun; it can also improve the function of your heart. Whether it's a brisk walk around one of the Willmar area's beautiful parks or a workout at the Y, getting your body moving is key to maintaining cardiovascular health. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week – your heart will thank you!

Consider these programs at the Kandiyohi County Area Family YMCA to help you stay active!

2. Rest up:

Lack of sleep can be associated with elevated cholesterol and blood pressure. Adults aim for at least seven, but no more than nine hours of sleep at night to aid with the prevention of heart disease. Children need 10-12 hours of sleep per night. Develop bedtime routines to assist with falling asleep faster and staying asleep.

3. Revamp your Recipes:

Makeover your favorite recipes by reducing the amount of salt and saturated fat and substituting a lower-fat food without sacrificing tastes. For example, use low-fat yogurt instead of sour cream and skip the seasoning packet, and use pepper and olive oil instead. Read food labels to learn more about what is in the package, and select foods that have less than 1,000 mg of sodium per serving.

4. Check your Pressure:

Revised blood pressure guidelines from the American Heart Association mean that nearly half of all Americans (46 percent) have high blood pressure. Lowering or maintaining normal blood pressure can greatly reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. Start self-monitoring your blood pressure and know the numbers. Discuss the results with your doctor if needed.

5. Quality Time:

Cherish the moments that matter most – the laughter of friends, the warmth of family, and the joy of connecting with others. Building strong social connections and nurturing positive relationships is not only good for the soul but also for your heart health. So, make time for quality connections as you prioritize your heart this February.


Let's get out there, embrace the crisp winter air, and show our hearts some love this February!
Category: Health Education

National Wear Red Day

February 2

Join the Kandiyohi County Area Family YMCA in celebrating Heart Health Month by wearing red to the YMCA on February 2nd.