February is American Heart Month. In honor of this important event, UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute challenges you to dedicate one week to improving your heart health. Join us for the 7-Day Heart Health Challenge.\nOne Week to Better Heart Health: Take Our Challenge\nDay 1: \u00a0Make a plan\u00a0\nCreate a list of realistic and obtainable goals for your fitness and overall health. Here are a few examples:\n\nGo for a 30-minute walk, four days a week.\nQuit smoking and cut back on drinking\nConsider joining a gym or signing up for fitness classes\nMeet with a registered dietitian to discuss your eating habits and learn how to improve them\n\nDay 2: \u00a0Educate yourself\nDay two is all about knowledge.\n\nTake time to read about heart disease or the symptoms of heart attacks in men and women.\nEducation is the first step toward managing your heart health.\n\nDay 3: Know your numbers\nUndergo a heart screening to learn these five key heart health numbers:\n\nBody mass index\nBlood glucose\nBlood pressure\nTotal cholesterol level\nHigh-density lipoprotein\n\nLearn more about heart screenings at UPMC.\nDay 4: Get up and move\nThe American Heart Association recommends adults engage in 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes weekly of vigorous aerobic activity.\nModerate intensity aerobic activity should be spread out over 30-minute increments five days a week and can include activities such as:\n\nWater aerobics\nCasual bicycling (a pace of slower than 10 miles per hour)\nBallroom dancing\nGeneral gardening\n\nDay 5: De-stress hour heart\nStress can take a major toll on your overall health. Chronic stress can lead to conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol \u2014 not to mention of unhealthy habits, such as overeating and excessive drinking. Here are some simple ways to cut back on stress:\n\nSocialize with others\nEngage in exercise\nMake sure you get a full eight hours of sleep each night\nDo some deep breathing\n\nDay 6: Swap out the junk\nDo a deep dive into your fridge and pantry and rewrite your grocery list to ensure you’re eating healthy foods.\u00a0Try to avoid or limit your intake of:\n\n\nSaturated fat\nTrans fat\nSodium\nRed meat\nSweets\nSugar-sweetened beverages\n\n\n\nNeed a simple, heart-healthy snack to get started? Try this almond snack mix recipe.\nDay 7: Become a heart health advocate\nYou\u2019ve met the challenge and now you\u2019re ready to become a heart health advocate.\nAs a heart health advocate, you should commit to continue with a healthy lifestyle. You should also encourage others to improve their heart health. For example, talk to family members about getting screened for heart disease. Take a friend along on your daily walk. Share your experiences and be a positive example.