Tuesday, October 13 , 2015, 11:10 am | Partly Cloudy 81º

American Heart Month Tips from Channel Islands YMCA

By Lynnette Ferrari for the Channel Islands YMCA |

February is American Heart Month, and as a leading nonprofit dedicated to improving the nation’s health and well-being, the Channel Islands YMCA offers the following tips to help families in the Tri-Counties to be heart healthy.

» 1. Get physical: Being physically active every day is fun and can improve the function of your heart. Plan and schedule opportunities for active play; for example, include a brisk, 10-minute trip around the block after meals or a 10-minute walking break during the day. If your family enjoys active video games, select versions that require moving the body’s large muscle groups while playing.

» 2. Take a snooze: Lack of sleep has been associated with elevated cholesterol and blood pressure. Adults need at least seven but no more than nine hours of sleep at night to aid with the prevention of heart disease. Children need 10 to 12 hours of sleep per night.

» 3. Shape up those recipes: Makeover your family’s favorite recipes by reducing the amount of salt and saturated fat and substituting a lower fat food (for example low-fat yogurt instead of sour cream) can make a recipe healthier without sacrificing taste.

» 4. Feeling the pressure: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lowering or maintaining normal blood pressure can greatly reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. Nearly 1 in 3 adults (about 67 million people) has high blood pressure and more than half of them don’t have it under control. Get your blood pressure checked regularly and discuss the results with you doctor.

» 5. Play together: Spending time together as a family is a great way to reduce stress, which is important to heart health. Make homemade valentines for your children’s classmates or build a snow fort together in the yard or the park.

For more information on how your family can live a healthy, active life, click here or contact your local YMCA for detailed information.

» Camarillo Family YMCA, 3111 Village at the Park Drive, 805.484.0423

» Lompoc Family YMCA, 201 W. College Ave., 805.736.3483

» Montecito Family YMCA, 591 Santa Rosa Lane, 805.969.3288

» Santa Barbara Family YMCA, 36 Hitchcock Way, 805.687.7727

» Stuart C. Gildred YMCA, 900 N. Refugio Road in Santa Ynez, 805.686.2037

» Ventura Family YMCA 3760 Telegraph Road, 805.642.2131

— Lynnette Ferrari represents the Channel Islands YMCA.

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