When you hear Valentine’s Day, what comes to your mind? Is it chocolates, a romantic night out, or a party with sugar-fueled children bouncing off the walls? Does it include overindulging in rich food and drink?
Considering Valentine’s Day is a holiday of the heart, and February is American Heart Month, why not celebrate in a way that honors your heart? But how, you ask? Have I got some ideas for you!
7 ways to celebrate a heart-healthy Valentine’s Day
- Replace the chocolates with a beautiful fruit bouquet or basket, preferably one with lots of berries, which are rich in antioxidants, low in fat, and high in fiber. Now if you automatically turned up your nose at that idea, or you’re concerned that your loved one will throw said fruit in your face, how about chocolate-dipped strawberries?
- Skip the crowded, expensive, calorie-dense restaurant for a more intimate romantic dinner at home, perhaps one you cook together. Or if you’re more of a party gal (or guy), invite your friends and ask each to bring their own favorite healthy recipe to share.
- If you can’t imagine Valentine’s Day without raising a glass, make it red wine. Antioxidants in red wine may increase levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and protect against cholesterol buildup.
- Take a walk with your loved ones (including the furry ones). You’ll have time away from all life’s distractions (assuming you leave the electronic devices behind) to connect with each other, and walking strengthens your heart.
- If staying in is not your idea of a good time on Valentine’s Day, by all means go out. Just bypass the restaurant and candy store, and go dancing instead. A recent study found that moderate intensity dancing is tied to a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. It makes sense, dancing is basically interval training and it creates a social connection—both are good for your heart.
- Dancing’s not your thing? Consider an ice skating, snowshoeing, or tobogganing date. (My friends in the Southern Hemisphere, can swap that out for any summertime sport.) Besides the physical exertion, you benefit from being in the great outdoors.
- Write a love letter to someone you care about. This could be your partner, your child, your parent, your best friend. Open up, allow yourself to be vulnerable, tell them all the reasons you love them. It will do your heart good, as much as theirs.
Now get out there and have some heart-healthy fun this Valentine’s Day! Then come back and tell us all about it.
Transformation Challenge – Week 2
In order to create accountability for myself, I will be giving a weekly update of my efforts and progress in the 8-week Transformation Challenge. If you are not interested in this portion of my blog, please feel free to skip down to the Comments. I’d love to hear from you.
I attended three Orangetheory classes this week.
Between Orangetheory workouts, I did one stationary bike ride, power walked on the treadmill, ran two miles, and had one rest day.
I food prepped for the week on Sunday, making kale and spinach smoothies for breakfasts and lean roast, red potatoes, and carrots for lunches (actually Larry cooked the roast). I also purchased some MuscleEgg to naturally supplement my protein intake. These are pasteurized egg whites with a little flavoring added (because who can be expected to drink plain egg whites!).
Last week’s coach’s goal for the group was to drink at least 60 ounces of water a day. If 60 is good, 90 is better, right?
This week’s coach’s goal is to focus on proper form for a safer and more efficient workout. Of course, proper form is always the goal, but it’s good to be reminded.
- What are your Valentine’s Day plans?
- Chocolate–dark, milk, or no thanks?
- What is your health goal this week?
- Share anything else you’d like to share–any topic at all.
Christie is an author and professional communicator who blogs about life transitions, wellness, mindfulness, and anything else that answers the question “So what? Now what?”