February is American Heart Month, a reminder to take steps toward a healthier heart so you can keep doing what you love.

The best news is that you don’t have to make dramatic changes to your routine or take big steps to improve the health of your heart. Check out these six steps you can take this month to live a healthier life for your heart.

1. Get Outside

Tampa Bay has so many picturesque pathways and parks. Head outside for a walk before the sun goes down. Thirty minutes of exercise is essential for heart health, plus a fun activity will lower your blood sugar and stress levels.

2. Go to Bed

Studies show that people who get seven hours of sleep per night (as opposed to five or nine hours) have healthier hearts with lower calcium levels in their arteries. Your heart health is a great excuse for skipping the dishes tonight and heading to bed early.

3. Give Blood

If you are eligible, visit your local blood bank and donate blood. There are many benefits to giving blood -- other than helping up to three people with each donation. The clinical specialists will test your blood pressure and your blood, letting you know if there are any issues. Some studies have also found that giving blood lowers your risk of heart attack and protects your liver.

Related Content: Celebrate American Heart Month by Boosting Heart Health and Preventing Disease 

4. Get a Check Up

Your doctor is the best source of information for heart health. They can identify various risk factors in your life and make suggestions to check your heart. They may even recommend blood tests or cell testing, a non-invasive, simple way to identify whether or not you are at risk for certain common illnesses. Scheduling a wellness check annually can help them track your health over time.

5. Go Into Your Family History

Do you know what diseases and conditions your parents, grandparent, and great-grandparents have? Knowing this information can help you and your doctors determine problems in your body in the future. You may think that your family will always be around, but it is better to ask now rather than later. Sit down with a few family members to map out your family health history.  

6. Give Up Bad Habits

People often focus on the risks to your lungs when they talk about smoking and vaping, but those habits can also affect your heart. There are other habits, like the overconsumption of alcohol, junk food, or caffeine that can also harm your heart if you aren’t careful. If you gave up (or wanted to reduce) these vices for your New Year’s resolution then it is time to pick up the determination you had on January first. Cut back on bad habits for a better heart.  

Go Heart Healthy In February

There are so many ways you can help your heart with just a few small changes. Use these steps as a guide so you take the right steps for a healthy heart in 2019! 

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Cover photo from Pxhere