Captiol News from The Assembly Minority Conference
The Assembly Minority Conference

February Is Heart Month

Column from Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay

There is never a bad time to recommit to healthy cardiovascular dietary and exercise habits, but American Heart Month provides an especially great opportunity to actively consider some creative ways to improve overall heart health. As we prepare to head into the warmer, sunnier spring weather, there are lots of ways to honor our commitment to ourselves and build effective, fun health routines.

There is no shortage of important reasons to consider cardiovascular health issues, as heart disease continues to be a leading cause of death in the U.S., according to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the U.S., someone dies from a cardiovascular-related disease every 34 seconds, and it is the leading cause of death in men, women and most ethnic and racial groups in the nation.

Further, the cost to mitigate heart disease scales into the billions, and medicine, health care services and loss of productivity accounted for $229 billion in costs between 2017 and 2018, notes the CDC. In addition to improving our own habits, I believe it is critical we continue to support research and funding needed to combat these ailments.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute offers some helpful tips covering how we can all improve heart health right now. With warmer weather right around the corner, consider some outdoor activities to get your blood pumping. Being physically active is one of the most important ways we can combat heart disease.

New Yorkers looking to take advantage of the state’s incredible trail system can visit here to plan a hike or family adventure. We are fortunate to have some of the best natural resources in the U.S., and I encourage all New Yorkers and visitors wanting to get some exercise to explore some of our great state parks and trails.

Additionally, notes the institute, eating healthier foods, avoiding smoking, getting enough sleep and reducing stress are also highly-effective ways to improve heart health. It also recommends individuals consult with health experts to learn what constitutes healthy blood pressure, weight, blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels.

While eating better and exercising are important ways to improve heart health, it is just as important to stay informed, seek medical advice as needed and get regular check-ups from your primary care physician. Just as February provides us an opportunity to recommit to better habits, it also provides us with an opportunity to spread awareness and learn more about how we can better take care of ourselves. We can always improve our health habits, and I hope each of you takes some time now to think about how to make your daily lives a little healthier.