Heart Your Heart

We heart our #ActiveBadgers. That’s why we want to make sure your hearts are happy and healthy, too! As a student, your heart is with you every step (and exam) along the way. Plus, February is American Heart Month, so what better time to show our hearts some love?
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. Taking preventative steps today can help reduce your risk for heart disease later. But it doesn’t have to take a lot of work. UW-Madison student organization Cardiac On Campus promotes awareness about cardiovascular health and encourages college students to think about their heart health. We asked Cardiac On Campus co-founder Jessica Miller for simple (and student-friendly) heart health tips.
Heart your chart 

Knowing what your heart health looks like is an important first step.
“Lipid screenings and cholesterol screenings are becoming more streamline because everyone has a different baseline that’s healthy. It’s important to know whether you’re at that baseline–and that starts now, in college,” Miller said.
If you’re interested in checking your cholesterol, UHS offers free cholesterol screenings under their preventive care.
Avocadon’t forget a balanced diet 

Your diet can have a big impact on your cardiovascular health. That’s why small steps, like meal prepping, are important.
“Meal prepping is my personal favorite. Do what works for you to be healthy, whether it’s meal prepping so you know you always have healthy meals on hand,” Miller explained.
Looking for a good snack? Avocados are packed with monounsaturated fat and can help lower LDL cholesterol, which can help decrease your chances of a heart attack. Chickpeas, lentils and black or kidney beans can also help improve your blood cholesterol. Look for a low-sodium variety of chickpeas or pack a hearty punch with an avocado and black bean bowl.
Find your fitness 
Do what works for you when it comes to your fitness, too.
“Eating healthy, getting out and working out…do whatever you like to do to work out so that it’s something you can do regularly,” Miller recommended.
Maybe that’s getting outside for a hike, taking a lap at the Natatorium or playing a favorite sport with friends. Go for something you enjoy.
Be prepared 
It’s important to know what to do in an emergency situation.
“One thing that [co-founder] Brittany and I both prioritize is the public’s preparedness to handle emergency health situations that relate to cardiac health. One of our biggest missions on campus for the past few years has been getting people CPR and AED certified,” Miller said.
Get American Red Cross certified for Adult First Aid/CPR/AED right on campus! We are offering several upcoming classes at the Natatorium.
Heart your heart 
One final tip from Miller: “Stay heart healthy. Get CPR certified–everybody needs to be CPR certified!”
Maintaining your cardiovascular health is an important component to leading a balanced lifestyle. Take the time to heart your heart today.