A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

52 Weeks of Public Health: Move with heart to better your health during American Heart Month

As part of American Heart Month in February, the Department for Public Health encourages Kentuckians to increase their levels of physical activity to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

To get involved, use the hashtag #MoveWithHeart on social media to connect with others and search for posts 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. 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.

Currently, only about 22 percent of adults meet the federal government’s physical activity guidelines. Federal guidelines encourage all of us to do 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.

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.

“During American Heart Month, we encourage you and your family to take the pledge #MoveWithHeart by increasing your physical activity to help protect your heart from heart disease and high blood pressure,” concluded Bonita Bobo, coordinator for the heart disease and stroke prevention program in DPH. “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.”

The #MoveWithHeart pledge is a campaign from the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute to spur higher levels of physical activity across the country. The campaign runs through March 2. More information is posted at the NHLBI website here www.movewithheartpledge.com.

Additional information is available at chfs.ky.gov.

From Cabinet for Health and Family Services

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