February is American Heart Month, so the state Department for Public Health is encouraging Kentuckians to increase their physical activity to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. It is promoting the hashtag #MoveWithHeart on social media to connect with others and get information about exercise, physical activity and improving cardiovascular health.
"Heart disease is the second leading cause of death among Kentuckians, with more than 10,000 people dying each year from heart disease," the department said in a news release. "A major risk factor for heart disease is physical inactivity. Research shows that being physically active can help lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. When we protect our hearts, we care for our cardiovascular health. During the cold months, physical activity can be even more challenging. It’s important that Kentuckians make an effort to move more throughout the day. "
Federal guidelines suggest physical activity that gets our hearts beating faster and leaves us a little breathless for at least 2.5 hours each week. "You can break up that activity into small manageable chunks: 10 minutes here, 20 minutes there, it all adds up," the health department says. "In addition to physical activity, these healthy changes can help Kentuckians lower their risk of developing heart disease:"
- Watch your weight.
- Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
- Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
- Get active and eat healthy.
Bonita Bobo, the health department's coordinator for heart disease and stroke prevention, said “All Kentucky children, women and men should try to build activity into your day by taking the stairs, parking farther away from your destination, and stepping away from that computer screen.”