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Overview

The month of February is typically associated with love. February also happens to be American Heart Month. This makes it a perfect time to focus on the one heart that means the most – your own! Did you know the average heart beats about 100,000 times per day? That’s a lot of work! To keep our hearts strong and healthy and performing their best, it’s important to take time to share the love. Get moving and fuel your body with some heart-loving ideas below!

Move More

Get Moving, Love Your Heart

Similar to how we work out other muscles in our body, your heart needs a work out, too! To help strengthen your heart, try to get moving at least 150 minutes per week (that’s about 20 minutes per day!).

The Move Cube
Materials:

  • Printable cube template
  • Tape
  • Music

Print out the cube template and fill in each side with an action from the list below or come up with your own. Customize to the ages of your participants. For younger ages, consider animal movements (hop like a frog, flap wings like a bird, or waddle like a penguin). Use The Move Cube to get moving in the classroom (during morning meeting, as a fun mid-day break, or as an activity when preparing for upcoming exams) or during free time at home!

  • Jump Up and Down
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Hop on One Foot
  • Push-Ups
  • Tip-Toe
  • Sit-Ups
  • Crawl
  • Toe Touches
  • Walk Backwards
  • Arm Circles
  • Dance
  • Burpees
  • Stretch
  • Mountain Climbers

Love Yoga

These heart-opening poses are paired with self-loving affirmations to help you get moving and refocused. Use these in the classroom or at home as a quick and easy practice to stay centered and inspired. Remember to breathe deeply and hold each pose for 3-6 full breaths.

  1. I am strong. Mountain Pose: Stand with your arms relaxed at your sides with your palms faced outward in a gesture of openness. Stand tall, like a balloon is lifting you up.
  2. I am positive. Warrior Pose: From mountain pose, step one foot back, slightly angling it outwards, bend your front knee, and bring your arms straight up towards the sky, and look up. Switch sides.
  3. I am graceful. Tree Pose: From mountain pose, transfer your weight to one side. Place the bottom of your left foot on the inside of your right thigh or shin (not the knee) and hold with your palms together at your chest. Switch sides.
  4. I am confident. Cobra Pose: Lie on your tummy, lift your head and shoulders off ground, place palms flat next to your shoulders, and open your chest.
  5. I am proud. Cat-Cow Pose: On your hands and knees, tuck your chin into your chest and round your back. Then look up, open your chest, and arch your back. Repeat the Cat-Cow sequence a few times.
  6. I appreciate myself. Bridge Pose: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Rest your arms down alongside your body, tuck your chin into your chest, and lift up your hips to create a bridge.

Eat Better

Give Your Heart Some Love with These Heart-Healthy Snacks

Keeping your heart healthy includes fueling the body with the right vitamins and minerals. One of the best ways to do this? Eat the rainbow! Fill your diet with many colorful fruits and veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats – like avocados and nuts. Check out these delicious and heart-healthy recipes below. Want to create your own heart-healthy salad or parfait? Host a taste test, and pick from new ingredients.

Kale Berry Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of kale, thick stems removed and leaves thinly sliced
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 2 packages of raspberries
  • 2 packages of blueberries

Directions:
1) Wash all fruits and vegetables. 2) Thinly slice kale and green onions, and dice avocado. 3) Toss all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and chill for 15 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Yogurt Chocolate Berry Parfait

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:

  • Plain or vanilla Greek yogurt (can substitute based on allergies)
  • Assorted berries – (the more colors, the better!)
  • Dark chocolate chips
  • Old fashioned oats (optional)
  • Cinnamon

Directions:
1) Scoop yogurt into bowl. 2) Top with fruit, dark chocolate, oats, and cinnamon. 3) Serve and enjoy!

Tips

Engage parents and volunteers in your community to join or plan a Heart Walk for the school. You can raise funds and get everyone moving together for a great cause in supporting the American Heart Association.

Reach out to a local clinic and ask someone to come in to talk to students and families about heart health.

Incorporate all of these ideas into your Every Kid Healthy Week event plans and host a schoolwide health fair with a focus on heart health. You could invite a yoga instructor, offer taste tests of heart-healthy snacks, and bring in a speaker to do workshops on heart health. Enlist your parent organization or individual parents to help you plan.