Activity of the Month: February 2021
Kayla Thompson, MS, ACSM-EP
Ah, love is in the air! It’s February, a month both loved and loathed for that special holiday that only comes once a year. And, no, I’m not talking about Abe Lincoln’s birthday, but Valentine’s Day.
What you might not know is that February is also American Heart Month. American Heart Month is designed to bring awareness and help prevent heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends getting at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both, preferably spread throughout the week.
Do not let this intimidate you. Slow and steady wins the race. Small progress over time is where you should be headed. To keep that heart healthy, you need to get active and increase your heart rates daily. How can you incorporate heart health and love into an activity? So glad you asked!
The activity for heart health, and for the month of love, is dancing. Dancing is a great way to elevate your heart rate. Like any good activity, dancing can be done with a friend or special someone, with a group, or even long distance through a video call. Unless you dance like Elaine from the cast of Seinfeld (i.e. very badly), in which case we recommend you just dance alone.
Want to improve your dance skills? No problem! There are great online classes that can help you out. Consider this month the time you learn the ever-popular shag, or salsa, or maybe the new thing all the cool kids are doing. Not only is dance a fun, heart-healthy activity, it is also a great cognitive exercise. That’s right, dancing is even a brain workout routine. Brain and heart health activity with just a swing of the hip and twist.
Whatever style of dance you choose, it’s important to remember to have fun, be safe, and laugh. Stay tuned for next month’s activity and be sure to keep up that walking routine we started in January.
I’ll see you out there!
Kayla Thompson is a patient support representative at the HopeHealth Medical Plaza in Florence and is a certified exercise physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. She has a Master of Science in clinical exercise science.