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 healthy habits to prevent heart disease and stroke, the No.1 and No. 5 health threats, so you can live a longer, stronger life together.
Christa and Patrick Page would agree that couples who sweat together can stay healthy together for many years to come. The married couple workout together at Gold’s Gym in LaGrange, NY.
“We definitely push each other to do more. 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,” said Christa Page.
They take yoga and kickboxing classes together, workout with a trainer and enjoy outdoor sports together like snowboarding, paddle boarding and mountain biking.
“We just really enjoy each other’s company and push each other to be healthy,” she said, “We feel more energized, more connected.”
“With yoga, it’s a great, intense workout but it’s good to relax for an hour and de-stress together,” said Patrick Page.
The American Heart Association recommends exercising 30 minutes most days of the week to prevent heart disease and stroke, the number one and five killers. Working out together as a couple is a great way to improve health during American Heart Month and year-round. Here are 14 other ways to make your February 14th a sweet, and healthy Valentine’s Day from the American Heart Association | American Stroke Association.
- Quality time is one of the most meaningful gifts. Bundle up and plan an active mid-winter outing such as sledding, ice skating, or skiing.
- Build a cozy fire – chopping and collecting wood counts as exercise!
- Try a new physical activity together like an indoor rock climbing or indoor golf lessons.
- Make reservations at your favorite healthy restaurant – sample a variety of heart healthy menu items and share a dessert to help control calories.
- Create a gourmet dinner at home with healthy seasonal foods like sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, apples, pears, carrots and winter squash. Try cooking methods like baking, roasting and steaming and use lean meats and whole grains.
- Add spice of life but not the sodium – Eat well and healthy meals together but pledge to reduce sodium in your meals to help prevent high blood pressure and stroke.
- Roast chestnuts by an open fire. Yes, go nuts by the fire! Roasted, unsalted nuts of all varieties are great as appetizers and gifts. You can also add nuts to many winter dishes, such as green beans with dry-roasted almonds.
- Toast to heart health with non-alcohol drinks. Be mindful of your health and drink in moderation. Enjoy non-alcoholic versions of your favorite cocktails to lower calories or use less alcohol by mixing with sparkling water or sugar-free juices.
- Hit the dance floor – What’s more romantic than taking your sweetheart out for a spin on the dance floor? Even if it’s dancing around the living room, dancing is a great aerobic activity that can burn over 300 calories per hour.
- Walk and talk – Set up regular morning or evening walks together to get your 30 minutes of exercise in while connecting with each other.
- Meditate and destress together – Keeping stress out of a marriage isn’t easy, but building in time to meditate together can help and keep you focused on the important things in life.
- Roll out your yoga mat side-by-side – Buy a new beginner’s Yoga DVD and try Yoga together to distress, stretch and strengthen.
- Snuggle up for a nap - We’re not talking hibernation, even though staying under the covers all day may sound attractive. Stay healthy all winter long by getting enough sleep (about eight hours a night). Sleep helps to ward off illness, maintain weight and keep your heart healthy.
- Workout together – Don’t hit the gym alone. Couples can support and motivate each other, and help each other stay committed to achieve fitness goals.
For more information on staying healthy, visit www.heart.org.