Get “Heart-Fit” this February

If you aren't used to being active, start by taking 15 minute walks, and work up from there

(CNN) – Heart disease is one of the leading killers of Americans but it doesn’t have to be that way. Health experts say now’s the time to get serious about heart health.

When you hear the words “February” and “heart,” images of cupid and chocolates probably come to mind but along with Valentine’s Day, February marks American heart month.

Healthcare professionals want you to take charge of your heart health! Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American men and women, claiming more than 600,000 lives each year! That’s one in every four U.S. deaths!

While many lifestyle choices and medical conditions can put you at risk for heart disease, the big three are: high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking.

According to the CDC, small changes can make a big difference. Always schedule regular visits with your doctor to talk about your heart health. Start moving! Daily exercise is a great way to keep your ticker healthy.

If you aren’t used to being active, start by taking 15 minute walks, and work up from there. Focus on healthy eating habits like cooking at home and limiting the amount of sodium you consume.

Finally, kick the smoking habit for good! Getting rid of those cigarettes can greatly decrease your risk for heart disease and stroke.