The perfect gift this Valentine’s Day is the gift of heart health. As we move into the month of love and leave behind the well known month of new beginnings it’s important to realize that those resolutions you made can not only be achieved and sustained–while still remaining yourself. Along with Valentine’s Day, February marks the American Heart Month, a great time to commit to a healthy lifestyle and make small changes that can lead to a lifetime of heart health.
Watch what you drink
Your body is almost two-thirds water, so it’s beyond important stay hydrated. As teens who are constantly running around, studying, and socializing on our feet it is crucial to always be drinking water. Almost every high school student is guilty of that daily sugar filled drink from your local coffee house that helps you wake up in the morning or study through the night. But ultimately, a high amount of unnecessary sugar is the last thing that your body needs. Invest in a reusable water bottle, fill it up 2-3 times a day and make a difference in how your body and heart functions. Are you someone that struggles with even remembering to drink water? Well, many of us are and having that helpful reminder that pops up on your phone can be the missing piece to you achieving that healthy routine. There are many water apps, but the highest rated is called “Daily Water”! This app is available on the App Store and can be downloaded for free.
Get those Z’s
It can be difficult to ensure that you’re getting enough sleep when you’ve got a huge load of class work, practices late into the evening, all piled on top of your other commitments. But getting enough sleep is one of, if not the most important, to your overall health and wellness. Not only should high school student be getting at least a solid 9 hours of sleep, but in addition you should try sticking to a sleep schedule so that you are able to consistently stay well-rested throughout the day. If you’re interested in tracking the optimal hours of sleep to feel well rested the next day, you should download the app “Sleepy Time” for free on your mobile device. And, if you’re more interested in analyzing your sleep and having a special alarm to wake you up, give “Sleep Cycle alarm clock” a try with a free download. Take control of your sleep and make this big part of your life healthy.
Three meals a day
Many teens have eating patterns that can get in the way of good nutrition and heart health. We’re all guilty of skipping meals every now and then. Especially with an early school start for many of us, breakfast may not even cross our mind. For some during the school day the stress is so significant, with studying and constant assignments, that lunch can be considered too inconvenient, and more like a free period. But skipping a meal can lead to hunger and overeating. So all tenagers should aim for three meals a day without skipping–even a light meal, such as a smoothie and banana is better than skipping altogether. Three meals a day, just three, we can do this. And if you see a friend skipping out on a meal offer them an apple, because achieving a healthy lifestyle and happy heart together is much better than alone.
Positive self messages
Now, heart health isn’t just talking medical and fitness, it’s self-positivity and love as well. This can be one of the hardest things for people to do, and many forget the value in positive self messages. Set a goal for yourself of saying 4 positive self messages throughout your day. This can also be another great opportunity to use technology to start your day off right! For free you can download the daily motivation and self help app, “ThinkUp: Positive Affirmations”. Think of yourself constantly in a positive light, it truly is the key to a healthy heart.
Gratitude for those around you
Many of us go on day by day surrounded by the same people and not even thinking twice about it. But in order to truly live a healthy life with a big heart you must not take for granted those that you have the wonderful opportunity of surrounding yourself with. Have gratitude, tell someone you love them and why. Random bursts of gratitude towards someone no matter how small–can boost someone else’s self love. Go out and give a friend a hug and tell then what they mean to you. Be thankful for what you have and thoughtful of how living a healthy lifestyle isn’t all physical.
Engage in physical activity
A majority of the student body play sports which allow them to be involved in regular fitness. But for many others the outlet of constant physical activity isn’t available. Don’t be discouraged if finding physical activity outside of sports is difficult. Because as we head into Spring and better weather, walking can be a perfect option. Go for a walk—with a dog, accompanied by a friend, listening to music, or even alone to think. Getting your body up and moving on a regular basis is a crucial aspect of heart health and developing a physically healthy lifestyle.
Give these 6 tips and the technology opportunities a try during this month of heart health. Love yourself, love others, love your body and take care of this beautiful gift that you have.