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Cindy Boggs Cindy Boggs

Cindy Boggs is an American Council on Exercise-certified fitness professional, corporate wellness presenter and author of the book, "CindySays … ‘You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World.'" Her website is

All right, ladies, place your hand over your heart and pledge allegiance to it. Think I'm kidding? I'm not. It's time to start taking care of what takes care of you. After all, this muscle does perform more work than any other muscle in your body.

Go Red

It's February — American Heart Month — and there are a few things the experts have learned this past year that can help protect and defend your ticker. A special shout out to the baby boomers, as studies show that as many as one in three of us will develop heart problems or have a stroke during our lifetime.

Our Hearts Need to Rest

It's vital to your heart health that you get a good night's sleep consistently. It makes a huge difference to your cardiovascular system and your chances of developing heart disease as you age. There is a distinct relationship among blood pressure, cholesterol levels, BMIs and sleep disturbances in teens. This may seem irrelevant now that you have lived through your teens; however, if you are still not getting adequate sleep, the same may be true for you as an adult. 

Our hearts long for good foods

We know we are what we eat, but do we know what we should be putting on our plate? 

  • Fruits and vegetables and a diet heavy in produce, grains and fish helps protect those with heart disease from having a heart attack.
  • Colorful antioxidants, such as strawberries and blueberries, are linked with a lower heart attack risk in women. Make certain that red and purple have a regular rotation in your diet. And, don't overlook the value of adding probiotics — live microorganisms in foods like yogurt — which may decrease your levels of "bad" cholesterol. 

Don't Let Your Heart Go Up in Smoke

Of course this means you aren't lighting up (not even socially). The smoke-free laws are freeing many of us from the risk of heart disease when it comes to inhaling someone else's smoke. Studies show they are linked to a decrease in heart attacks. In fact, Mayo Clinic researchers found that heart attack rates in Minnesota's Olmsted County decreased by 33 percent after smoke-free workplace laws were implemented for 18 months. 

Your Heart Hopes You're Happy at Work

Stress plays an important role in paving the way for a happy heart. Worry too much and your heart rebels. Since we might possibly spend much of our time at work — or out of work — it helps your heart if that time is not filled with conflict and/or lack of fulfillment. Let's hope it also doesn't throw your life out of balance by eating into your family life and personal time.

Your heart loves to stay warm

A study by the American Heart Association showed that deaths due to heart problems are more likely in the winter time than any other season, regardless of climate. Researchers speculate that it may have something to do with higher blood pressure or blood vessels being constricted in colder temperatures. Also, it might mean that people may be more sedentary during the cold, winter months. Exercise is important to keep those blood vessels open and productive.

Give it your best — your heart will do the rest

In honor of you and the Go Red for Women heart health campaign, make an ongoing commitment to your heart. Give it the best you've got by making good everyday decisions on its behalf. It will thank you by working steadily inside your chest for the rest of your life. 

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