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Keeping your heart healthy and happy: pro tips & tricks

by Hazen Center for Integrated Care
Tue, Feb 20th 2018 12:15 pm

It seems like every month we are wearing a different color to celebrate awareness for something new, and February is no different. February’s topic has been around for some time and more people need to know about it. No, it is not Valentine’s Day prep or a celebration for Super Bowl Sunday,  it’s Heart Health Month.  

Now, why do we want to take a whole month to talk about heart health, let alone a bunch of college students? The reason is simple: heart disease is the number one killer in the United States. While some think  heart disease is nothing college students have to worry about and that it only happens to old people, they are wrong. Habits started in college often lead to problems down the road, like eating 24/7, lack of exercise, alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking — the list goes on.  

Why worry about this now? College students have many other things to worry about, and the chance of a bad heart will not happen to them right away. The simple answer is yes, college students do have a lot to worry about; however, heart disease is something that cannot just be brushed off.  So what can college students do to be more aware of their heart health?  There are actually many different ways a student can get on track. 

The American Heart Association states that there are seven easy steps to maintain good heart health during Heart Health Awareness month: eating better, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, quitting cigarettes, managing blood pressure, controlling cholesterol and reducing blood sugar. Easy right? Of course not! Doing most of these things can feel very difficult to do, but as a college student, it may be even more difficult. 

It is not always easy to obtain healthy foods, or go to the gym, and how does one control their blood pressure? By Incorporating the American Heart Association’s seven easy steps, every college student can show their heart some love. 


The American Heart Association recommends:  

Eating Better: Try using the BASC Nutrition Tracker on the BASC website. Any food a student can purchase on campus can be found with this tracker — even those chicken fingers and fries from Trax that we all love. You may want to rethink your late-night Trax visits.

Maintaining a Healthy Weight: One relatively easy way college students can maintain a healthy weight is by using calorie trackers on their phones. There are numerous free apps students can purchase to help with tracking their daly intake. 

Exercising: Any form of exercise can help. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, taking a detour to get extra steps in, anything will help. You do not need to be in the gym 24/7, the little things add up. 

Quitting Cigarettes: Quitting is not an easy feat, but what can possibly help is a smoking cessation class. Smokefree.gov is a great place to start. This website gives you the tools you need to attempt quitting. You may also call 1-800-NY-QUITS and 1-800-QUIT-NOW for support.

Maintaining Blood Pressure: Try  stopping by the Hazen Health Center for a well checkup. Go in and ask questions. Ask “what is blood pressure,” or “what if mine is too high?”  

Controlling Cholesterol: Again, stop by Hazen Health Center and ask if you need to keep an eye on your cholesterol, or just stop by and ask what it means to have high cholesterol. 

Reducing Blood Sugar: Some foods that aid in lowering blood sugar include, but are not limited to: avocados, omega-3 rich fish, garlic, leafy greens, almonds, eggs and whole grain. Some of the foods you should stay away from are candy, sodas, energy drinks and even the dessert bar at the dining halls.

Let us try to end February with making our heart health a priority. You may have already broken those New Year’s resolutions, but you have a whole 10 months to keep trying, and Heart Health month is a great place to begin. Start your healthy habits now, before it is too late. And remember, wear red in support for heart health awareness month.



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