Heart to Heart Talk

Scarlet, ruby, vermillion, rose, cherry, crimson, maroon and claret. These are just a few of the types of red people will be seeing on Valentine’s Day cards, chocolates and even underwear in the next couple of weeks. Because February is the month for love due to Valentine’s Day, it’s also the American Heart Association’s month of the heart and a host of other heart-related celebrations.

Today is National Wear Red Day. Since red is my favorite color, I’m all for it. It also happens to be an awareness tool to let people know that heart disease—the #1 killer of women—is largely preventable.  If you decide to wear red today, let people know why.

Next week from February 7th to 14th is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness week. The Congenital Heart Information Network wants people to know that congenital heart disease is considered to be the most common birth defect, and is a leading cause of birth-defect related deaths worldwide.

With any cause, you can always donate money for programming but sometimes the best way to promote awareness is to do something, something different than you normally do so people will ask you why you are doing it.

If that means wearing a red feather boa or sexy red dress on National Wear Red Day, then go for it.  You could also start a wear red day for every Friday in the month or a casual red day and collect donations for those that dress casual and then donate them to the American Heart Association (AHA). The AHA makes it easy to go red by providing plenty of clothing, jewelry and other items at its Shop Go Red Store.

The AHA also provides easy ways to advocate for legislation helping heart research in its You’re the Cure outreach advocacy program.  It has information on state and federal issues for the advocate and how to get involved.

Another way to combat heart disease is to exercise.  We already know that works better when you do it with a friend or in a group so why not start a lunchtime walking group at your work, or a weekend group in your neighborhood?  Find resources to do it here and here.  I wore a red shirt when I went for a workout with my friend Jude this morning.

She had an interesting idea. What if employers made how much they pay in health insurance for employees dependent on their health?  Would you start exercising if it meant you could pay $100 or more dollars less for your health insurance?  My sister’s company gives employees money for doing 10,000 steps or more a day.  Find out how your company can become a Fit Friendly company.

What else can you do? Contact your local chapter of the American Heart Association and get some brochures to give out on a casual red Friday.  Set up in the lobby of your building at lunch time and catch people as they go out to lunch or in the morning or evening as they arrive and go home.

Your heart is the seat of love AND life.  Take care of it, not just this month, but in the years to come.


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