February – National Heart Month!

Story by Meredith Nelson / February 23, 2021

Show Your Heart (and theirs) Some Love!

February is a month to celebrate the heart . . . . not only do we have Valentine’s Day, but it is also National Heart Month.  What better time to show appreciation for those you love, but also for the ticker that keeps you going … your heart!

This February marks the 56th consecutive occurrence of National Heart Month, established by Lyndon B. Johnson nine years after suffering a heart attack.  Although the focus of this national designation is on awareness and prevention of heart disease, the American Heart Association encourages everyone to take care of their hearts all year long.  And then of course there’s Valentine’s Day – an opportunity to proclaim and show our love for that special someone.  But why save it all for just one day?  There are plenty of ways you can show your loved ones how much they mean to you, and at the same time, give your heart a little attention as well, any day of the year.  Take, for example, the following heart-healthy activities . . .

Splurge on some heart-healthy indulgences.

  • Have a glass of red wine with some dark (not milk) chocolates – in moderation, of course!  They both contain anti-oxidants, preventing the effects of aging and reducing your risk of heart disease and cancer.
  • Take above-mentioned dark chocolate, add fresh strawberries, and voila!  A romantic dipping dessert.  Along with the healthy attributes of dark chocolate, berries also contain heart-healthy nutrients – anti-oxidants, fiber, and Vitamin C – and help prevent cancer, heart disease, and obesity.
  • Want to order take out and enjoy a cozy dinner at home?  Order a veggie pizza and go light on the cheese (our fave is the Charred Veggie pizza – add figs – from Coastal Crust), or order sushi instead.  There’s something about feeding each other with chopsticks that can be a bit whimsically romantic.
  • And if you haven’t had enough DIY during Covid, do an online search for a recipe that calls for your favorite foods and cook dinner together!

Go on an online “love me, love my heart” shopping spree – and shop local! 

Treat yourself and your loved one to some things with which might motivate you to exercise and improve your heart health, such as:

  • Exercise apparel – the latest styles are actually attractive and can be worn beyond the gym walls!
  • Heart rate monitor/Fitbit/Garmin device – what a great way to make sure you and your workout buddy are exercising within your target zones for the most effective workout.
  • New athletic/running shoes. 
  • Subscription to the Pelaton app (no Pelaton needed!)
  • Yoga mat, blocks, & strap.
  • Pickleball or disc golf set.
  • Handheld weights, resistance bands, stability balls . . . exercise equipment that you can use at home and avoid the gym.

Some of my favorite local places to shop – masked in-person, or even on-line at most places, are Play It Again Sports, Fleet Feet, Charleston Fitness Equipment, and Blue Sky Endurance.

Get some exercise together!

And now that you’ve gotten the gear… put it to use!  We are so fortunate to enjoy mild temperatures year-round, which makes it ideal for most of these activities:

Take a walk. Enter a local socially-distanced race (there are a handful that have not been Covid-cancelled) together.  Go for a bike ride.  Spend an afternoon in a state or county park, exploring the trails by foot or bicycle.  Learn to play pickleball or disc golf (YouTube offers excellent tutorials). Go for a swim in the newly renovated Martin Luther King indoor pool downtown.  Make love (talk about burning calories!).  Kiss (it’s actually good for your teeth – I’ve heard that kissing stimulates the production of saliva to wash food from your teeth, and also lowers the level of acid that causes decay).

And of course, with so many personal trainers WFH these days, it’s easier than ever to find a trainer who is compatible with you and eager to help you meet your fitness goals.  .

So this month, take some time to show your loved one how much you really do care . . . about them and their health.  Remember, a healthy heart is a happy heart!

Meredith Nelson, M.Ed, is the owner of PrimeTime Fitness, LLC.  Meredith has spent more than 20 years in the fitness industry, from owning her own gym, to acting as Director of Training at the local Gold’s Gym Mt. Pleasant, and now offering her private training services in her home studio or virtually. Providing private and small group training, outdoor boot camps, TPI Golf Fitness, and yoga (both traditional and Yoga for Golfers), Meredith is ready to help you achieve your fitness and nutrition goals.  She can be reached at Meredith@primetimefit.net.