January 30, 2009

How to have a heart-healthy Valentine’s

Consider heart-friendly ways to celebrate Valentine's Day, instead of eating a box of chocolates take a loved one for a walk, a U.S. author advises.

Carole Carson, the author of From Fat to Fit: Turn Yourself into a Weapon of Mass Reduction, says if you give gifts, consider a pedometer or a heart monitor as a way to show how much you care.

When we take care of our health, we reduce our chances for a broken heart, Carson says in statement.

Carson says if hearts could speak, they'd tell us to take good care of our health because every 37 seconds an American dies from a heart attack, strokes, aneurysms and atherosclerosis.

To take care of your heart, Carson recommends to:

-- Focus on maintaining a positive outlook, developing enriching personal relationships and doing satisfying work. Attaining and sustaining good mental health goes a long way in protecting physical health.

-- Invest 30 to 60 minutes a day in exercise.

-- Take off the extra weight. Carrying around even a few extra pounds increases the risk of heart disease.

In one study of 21,000 men, researchers found that every pound of extra weight increased men's risk. The chubbier participants faced a 180 percent increase in the odds of developing heart disease.