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We all know that February is the month when we show our love to our valentines – but did you know that it’s also American Heart Month? February is dedicated to raising awareness of heart disease and encouraging heart-healthy and long-term lifestyle changes that keep our hearts beating strong!
While our loved ones give us the inspiration and motivation to live, our hearts pump oxygen through our bodies and provide us with the capacity to live. Let’s show both of them some love this Valentine’s Day!
Instead of giving candies and sugary treats to your loved ones this year, let’s find creative and healthy ways to show our love. Whether it’s your spouse, significant other, parent or child, your valentine will love and appreciate these fun and thoughtful ways to celebrate the holiday of hearts.
Instead of a chocolate heart, how about a heart-shaped berry arrangement? Create a large heart on a platter with blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and sliced strawberries. These fruits are filled with vitamins and antioxidants that’ll make everyone’s heart beat a little stronger!
Kids and adults love these! Create coupons for kisses that can be used whenever someone is in need of a little pick-me-up smooch. I suggest adding expiration dates so that they use them up in a timely manner!
Okay, okay – I know we all love our chocolates. And guess what? Dark chocolate has been shown to have heart-health benefits, as well! Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, which have cardio-protective properties. Make this gift even healthier by dipping fresh fruits, such as apples, strawberries and bananas, in dark chocolate for a delicious and nutritious treat.
Our hearts are arguably the most important muscle in our bodies! Let’s work them out by having a dance party, going for a hike, jumping rope, or taking a fitness class together! It’s a fun way to combine spending time together with improving heart health! There is no better gift than your time.
A great gift idea is a heart-monitoring gadget! There are so many wearable fitness monitors on the market right now that are fun and health-promoting. They track heart rate, steps walked and calories burned throughout the day – perfect for keeping the heart in tip-top health!
Find a blood drive and donate blood on Valentine’s Day or any day this month. The gift of good health is a gift that keeps on giving.
This year, indulge your sweetheart with a heart-healthy gift that they’ll love as much as their heart does. Happy American Heart Month and Happy Valentine’s Day!
Jenn Giles, R.D., C.S.S.D. is all about health and wellness. She has over 15 years’ experience, including a dual master’s degree in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from Columbia University. She is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD). She supplements all of this with her spin instructor certification and USATriathlon Level I Coach Certification.
Jennifer is passionate about (actually, obsessed with) the sport of triathlon. She has been personally participating in triathlons since 2000 and running road races since 1992. She is a two-time Ironman finisher and has completed countless numerous marathons. She has been a member of Power Bar Team Elite since 2006 and competed as a member of the 2006 Aquaphor/Active.com Sponsored Athlete Team. She was ranked as USAT All American Honorable mention in 2006 and 2011. Jennifer does all of this along side of her husband, Patrick, who is an equally accomplished triathlete and runner. They try as hard as they can to do all of their training and racing together.
She will tell you, however, that her most important, most rewarding and most challenging job is as a mother of four. She knows first hand the challenges of maintaining optimal fitness, overall good health and achieving goals while raising a family - of which good nutrition is the cornerstone.
Most importantly, she knows how to motivate, inspire and challenge athletes based on their own abilities, strengths and everyday lifestyles. She believes there is an athlete in everyone - no matter what their abilities are – and if those abilities are manifold, then there is an even better athlete in there!