Carolinas HealthCare System

It’s no accident that we call February “Heart Health Month.” With paper hearts decorating your classroom and friends giving you those yummy candy hearts with sayings on them (U R CUTE!), it only makes sense to think about how to treat your heart during this month of love.

Your Heart is a Muscle!

Sure, you have muscles all over your body. But your heart is the most important one, because its job is to pump blood to every other part of the body. Blood carries necessary oxygen and other important things, called nutrients, to your other muscles, organs and bones. You could think of your heart as The Boss! The boss makes sure things are in order so all the parts are working correctly.

Like any other muscle in your body, your heart needs to be exercised. And, the best way to do that is to get moving. Activities that make you feel out-of-breath – like running, skipping, jumping rope and swimming – are all good choices for working out your heart. You didn’t even know you were doing your heart a favor when you run as fast as you can around the playground!

Feed Your Heart Well

Remember, too, that what you eat is important for your health AND your heart. Your favorite fast-food cheeseburger is okay for a treat once in a while, but you'll mostly want to eat lots of vegetables and fruits.

Try to have five or six servings a day. If you eat a piece of fruit for breakfast, have carrot sticks and an apple in your lunchbox. Eat two servings of veggies for dinner and you’re giving your heart the perfect day of good foods! Oh, and don't forget to drink water and low-fat milk, instead of soda or other sugary drinks.

Your Heart Doesn’t Look Like a Valentine

Your heart is about the size of your fist, and it sits behind your ribs, just to the left of the middle of your chest. The right side takes blood in from your body and pumps it to your lungs. The left side of your hearts takes blood in from your lungs and pumps it out to your body.

All that pumping means your heart works HARD every day, all the time. So, even though your heart is not actually shaped like a Valentine, you’ll want to treat it with lots of love by exercising and eating healthy foods.