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Valentine's Day is for Lovers

On Valentine's Day, we do a much better job focusing on the object of our hearts' desires than we do taking care of our hearts: this year, heart disease will kill 10 times as many women as breast cancer, but relatively few women practice heart healthy behaviors. This year, give a Valentine's Day gift to your heart- make small behavioral changes that can have a big impact. Not only will your loved ones thank you, but your heart will beat longer and healthier.

First, if you smoke, just quit. Next, if you're overweight, focus on small changes that can produce big caloric dividends. Losing just 10 pounds will have a positive effect on your blood pressure and your cholesterol. Pass on the chocolate today, and enjoy luscious strawberries instead. Cuddle by the fire, but limit your alcohol. This will also help you enjoy any romance that follows even more.

If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol, now is a good time to reduce those risks as well. Twenty minutes of exercise four times a week will improve all of those conditions and make you feel like you have more energy and zest. Instead of getting close in front of the television, why not take your loved one on a nice-but brisk-romantic walk instead? And yes, sex counts as aerobic activity!

Created: 2/13/2004  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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