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The month of love isn’t just for Valentines, it’s American Heart Month.

February reminds us to take care of all matters of the heart. It’s also an excellent time to give yourself and your heart a little more love. It’s never too late to start making healthy lifestyle choices to reduce the risk of heart disease or to manage a diagnosed condition—even if you’re at a higher risk due to family history.

Experts recommend a variety of different and helpful ways to stay on top of both physical and mental health to help avoid the risks of heart disease. Give yourself, your family and your friends the gift of heart health by trying a few of the following suggestions:

For yourself and for the planet, join the Meatless Monday crowd!  
Meatless Monday is a global movement that encourages people to reduce meat in their diet for their health and the health of the planet. This movement encourages people to increase their intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes—and dietitians embrace it as a tool to promote heart healthy eating patterns.

*Our registered dietitian and dining team highlight menu options that are heart healthy, plus they are more than happy to accommodate any dietary need.

Dine together and experience the health benefits.
Eating with friends is an opportunity for conversation, sharing stories, and connection—and research shows that communal eating promotes health benefits and leads to better dietary choices. Here on campus, it’s easy and convenient to enjoy a great meal in good company in our two dining venues: the Penthouse Dining Room and Fred Johnson’s Bistro.

*Once a month our life enrichment team and dining services team plan a Jazz Night in Fred Johnson’s Bistro. These special evenings – which are even nicer when shared with a friend – feature great entertainment and prix fixe menus with tempting choices.

Make a positive impact on your health and your community with a great mindset.
Evidence suggests that being optimistic, cheerful, having gratitude and purpose in life can be heart-protective. The University of Michigan Health and Retirement study showed that in participants with known stable heart disease, positive psychological traits were associated with significantly lower risks of having a heart attack, and these traits included optimism (38% lower risk), positive outlook (32%), and having a purpose in life (27%). 

*Our resident-led Mindfulness Class, which is held once a week offers a break from stress and anxiety and helps teach coping skills on how to deal with these mood-busting feelings.

Give yourself a mental boost and de-stress with time in nature.
According to the American Heart Association, spending time in nature can help relieve stress and anxiety, improve your mood, and boost feelings of happiness and wellbeing. The Japanese call it shinrin-yoku — which translates to “bathing oneself in nature with the intention of receiving therapeutic benefits.” Whatever you like to call it, research says a little dose of nature can work wonders as preventative medicine.

*Vinson Hall Retirement Community is located on 23 tree-studded acres with walking paths that connect with the lovely surrounding neighborhoods. At Vinson Hall Retirement Community nature is just outside your door.

Put more on your schedule and reap the health benefits of an active social life.
Loneliness and social isolation have been linked to serious health conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, social isolation isn't just tough emotionally, it can cause physical harm to aging adults. It can raise the risk of heart disease and stroke by roughly 30%, the risk for dementia by 50% and significantly raises the risk of dying prematurely. So, doctor’s orders this month are to get together and enjoy company and camaraderie of friends and family for good health.

*At Vinson Hall Retirement Community, our residents have numerous and diverse activities to choose from each day. Check out our activity calendars to see what options appeal to you.

Being more active helps people live longer, healthier lives.
Put simply: exercise is good for you and exercise can come in any form that gets you up and moving. Research shows that sitting too much puts you at a higher risk of heart disease. Think of exercise as medicine, and know that cardiologists now say it’s as much a part of the standard of care for the heart as aspirin, statins or beta blockers.

*At Vinson Hall Retirement Community, there are all sorts of fitness classes and groups. Our residents love pool volleyball, pickle ball, and water exercise classes. Plus, our Fitness Center staff is available every day to provide guidance and support in helping our residents meet their fitness goals.

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