February is American Heart Month, a time we can all reflect on changes we can make to achieve better heart health for our families and communities.

Three things we can all all focus on in February are getting more active, eating healthy nutritious foods and managing our stress.

1. It’s great to start instilling these beliefs in our families and communities at a young age. According the the American Heart Association, youth ages 6-17 should participate in 60 minutes of vigorous to moderate exercise each day. The best way we can ensure our youth are staying active is to encourage them to have fun while being active. Whether it’s though a sports team, dance class or simply running around and exploring outdoors. We know when physical activity is fun and engaging youth are more likely to continue the behavior! Plus being active helps keep our hearts strong and healthy.

2. Healthy nutrition also plays a big role in our heart health. Eating a healthy diet alone can lower cholesterol and blood pressure and reduce damage to our arteries. We recommend eating more fruits and vegetables, limiting the amount of red meat we consume and choosing foods that are low in sodium. Here are some heart healthy food ideas!

3. Managing stress is important for all ages, not only adults. Our youth experience stressors and worries just like we do, so it’s important for us as parents, caregivers and coaches to recognize those and provide them with stress-reducing activities. Remember, stress can contribute to high blood pressure putting our hearth health at risk. Some ways NB3FIT encourages youth to manage stress are by talking with a coach or youth leader, practicing meditation, staying active and journaling.