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Healthy Living: National Heart Month

National Heart MonthFebruary is American Heart Month, and there’s no coincidence that it falls at the same time as Valentine’s Day. After all, we need to love our hearts and take good care of them!

Last year during American Heart Month, I had the privilege of spending a lot of time with Miss Texas 2014 Monique Evans, whose platform was “Remember Your Heart: One Beat at a Time.” Monique’s brother was born with a congenital heart disease, and it served as impetus for the ballerina to encourage people, especially children, to take good care of their hearts.

I caught up with Monique at two elementary schools in Longview, Texas, that day, where she talked to students about what they could do to begin or stay on a heart-healthy journey. She advocated daily movement like jump-roping, dancing, jogging, soccer, martial arts, baseball or a host of other activities that school kids should be involved in regularly, including giving 100 percent during their school gym class. She talked to them about what foods are good for your heart, like broccoli, beans and other foods with high fiber and low fat. The kids loved her. (Who wouldn’t? She’s funny, articulate and gorgeous, not to mention she got to wear a ridiculous amount of bling, which clearly was a huge favorite among the starstruck girl set.) I loved the fact that she was talking to kids, instilling these ideas in them at an early age.

When you get to a certain age, it’s more difficult to form healthy habits, and the damage to your heart might already be underway. I also loved how nothing she said was too drastic for the average person. She didn’t say to go out and run a marathon; she advocated staying active. Anyone can take a walk, take the stairs instead of the elevator or park in the farthest spot away from Target before shopping.

So this month, think about the small changes you can make to make a big difference to your heart.

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