Going red for American Heart Month

Tia Anderson, 4th year PharmD Candidate. Photo by Jada A. Hill

Heart disease is a disease that can affect anyone and in some cases, it is inherited and passed down, which is why healthy lifestyles are recommended for all.

February is American Heart Month and the goal is to raise awareness about heart health and to advise people around you to prevent heart disease by motivating good health strategies.

According to the Mankato Clinic, the number one cause of death among women and men is heart disease. It claims a million lives per year.

Heart disease is defined as “a type of disease that affects the heart or blood vessels. The risk of certain heart diseases may be increased by smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, and obesity,” states the National Cancer Institute.

Beyond wearing red in February there’s a number of ways to participate in American Heart Month, such as physical activities, improving lifestyle choices and eating better.

“In order to live a healthy lifestyle, I go to the gym and I ride my bike,” said Tia Anderson, a 4th-year PharmD Candidate.

Regular exercise can decrease the risk factors of having heart disease. Lifestyle changes within your daily activities can also make a difference in reducing your chances of heart disease.

“Being heart-healthy means doing what you should do to prevent heart disease. Eating healthy, daily exercise, and not smoking,” said Phoebe Johnson, RN, Unit Change Nurse. “I encourage people to exercise more, change their eating habits — baked foods, not fried. More vegetables, fewer carbohydrates and sweets.”

While it can be hard to make necessary changes, it can be even harder to convince others to do better, let alone encourage them.

Though there may not be a lot of promotion on campus for American Heart Month directly, there are plenty of on-campus activities that promote heart health in general.

If you find that walking up and down steps on campus just isn’t enough for you, there are other options.

Monday through Friday, from 7:00 am to 8:30 pm the Campus Recreation Center is open, and they host a range of different classes that promote health and wellness.

During the semester different organizations host wellness events also.

This past Friday was National Wear Red Day for American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women, the Beta Alpha chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. presented a fitness challenge on the Quad in support of the AHA’s fight against heart disease.