9 Awareness-Raising Ideas for American Heart Month
February is American Heart Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Since 1963, Congress has asked the president to proclaim February as American Heart Month each year as a way to remind citizens to take steps to take care of their health and heart.
If you are looking for a way for your organization to make a difference, consider an event with a heart-healthy spin on it! Between helping healthcare organizations to recognize Heart Month year after year and strategies from our own corporate wellness programs, Crestline has the ideas you need to get inspired. Here are some fun and educational activities to help your hospital, school, or organization to spread awareness:
1) Wear Red on National Wear Red Day®
National Wear Red Day® takes place on the first Friday of February each year as part of the GoRed For Women® campaign developed by the American Heart Association in 2004. National Wear Red day falls on Friday, February 1st, 2019. The GoRed® campaign is designed to bring attention and awareness to the issue of heart health among women, as research shows that many women are unfamiliar with the symptoms of a heart attack.
Custom imprinted apparel items make great giveaways at schools, awareness events, health fairs, and at the office to promote heart-healthy habits. Provide your group with custom printed red hats and t-shirts for a group photo and post it on your social media sites to get the word out.
2) Teach Lifesaving CPR
Arrange for the American Red Cross to come to your office, fitness facility, or school for on-site first aid training. Also, keep CPR instructions posted in common areas, like break rooms, so people can have easy access to this life-saving guide.
3) Encourage Healthy Living
Share the facts about healthy eating and heart health. We know that excess belly fat can contribute to high blood pressure and unhealthy blood lipid levels. Help combat excess pounds by forming a weight loss group with your colleagues or organizing a wellness-focused lunch-and-learn series. Send staff or group members a fun and informational email that includes healthy recipe ideas.
Foods high in soluble fiber—like beans, oats, barley, apples, pears, and avocados—are a tasty way to help lower bad cholesterol levels. Encourage employees to eat their vegetables with a mason jar salad shaker or have a make-your-own-salad day. Studies show that keeping a food diary can help people make more mindful decisions, so why not give away handy journals for easy meal tracking?
Here at Crestline, we offer a variety of healthy options in our café and encourage hydration by providing reusable drinkware and chilled water to employees. We also offer cooking classes and an on-site Farmer’s Market offering fresh produce during the summer months. According to Crestline’s wellness coach, Tisha Bremner, “There are several wellness-related programs available to Crestline associates. There are lunchtime yoga classes, wellness classes, and health coaching. The group classes are designed to introduce and remind individuals of the 6-aspects of building a healthy lifestyle: nutrition, exercise, mindful/positive thinking, sleep, stress management, and cultivating healthy relationships. Each of these programs has demonstrated positive evidence in identifying, mitigating, and reversing the effects of heart disease as well as the other primary health-related issues we face in our society today.”
4) Get People Moving
Little changes can have a big impact on one’s daily activity levels. In fact, activity as simple as walking briskly for 30 minutes a day can help lower your risk of heart disease. Encourage stretching, walking and yoga breaks at the office and at school to increase physical activity among students and employees. Motivate them to stay active all day by handing out customized pedometers that measure steps. Encourage your group to take the Move More Pledge and give out prizes such as stickers and balloons as incentives.
Here at Crestline, stand-up desks provide employees with an alternative to sitting, and regular stretch breaks are incorporated into the workday at hourly intervals. Employees are encouraged to track their minutes of exercise each month, and those who do are automatically entered into a gift card drawing.
5) Connect Dental Health with Heart Health
Strange as it sounds, keeping those pearly whites clean and polished might aid in the fight against heart disease. Recent research suggests that gum disease may raise your risk of heart disease. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste as well as flossing once a day. In February, dental practices can give out dental health goodie bags to patients and staff, filled with fun giveaways. Consider incorporating American Heart Month into your yearly healthcare marketing plan and post any events or promotions you will be offering on your website.
6) Have a Healthy Heart Day at School or at The Office
Designate one day in February to focus on ways to maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle. Provide healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and invite a nurse or nutritionist to speak about ways to make better choices in the new year. Set up tables and other displays to promote your messages. Hand out promotional products to make the event more fun. Heart-shaped magnets, stress relievers, and fun printed pens make it simple for you to incorporate a heart-healthy message into your event.
Why not create a tie-in with Valentine’s day? Give employees, customers, and clients a thoughtful gift that highlights the importance of American Heart Month. A red hot and cold tumbler, a teddy bear with a customized t-shirt, or ceramic mug with a positive message about heart health can go a long way to make them feel that they are valued by your organization. Pink, red, or heart-shaped giveaways can connect the two themes together in a festive way.
7) Schedule a Health Screening
Invite a fitness or medical professional into the office to provide free health screenings and offer advice on how to make healthy changes. Offer free blood pressure checks and add some fun by giving out water bottles or heart-shaped spinners to participants. Holding a free community screening such as this is also a great way to grow your medical or healthcare practice.
8) Create A Heart-Themed Contest
Motivate students and employees to exercise and eat healthy by designing a contest. Have a jump roping, walking or healthy-eating challenge and reward participants with useful and positive gifts like smoothie shakers or gift certificates to healthy restaurants.
Plan an office walk/run event to raise funds for the American Heart Association or other nonprofit of your choice. Custom apparel, shoelaces, and drawstring bags are perfect ways to pull your team together and encourage participation.
9) Create a Stress-Free Zone
Teach your clients, patients, or team the importance of managing stress. How a person manages stress is important; instead of relying on unhealthy methods such as stress-eating or smoking, encourage them to relax by exercising or using a stress ball for a quick time-out. Yoga is an activity that connects the mind and body to achieve a feeling of peace and relaxation and has been found to reduce chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure and anxiety. Workplace fitness programs and yoga studios can offer a free introductory yoga class in honor of heart month. Add your logo to a customized yoga mat, or other fitness giveaways.
Take it to Heart!
Whether you are an organization looking to celebrate American Heart Month or are looking to develop your own workplace wellness programs, promotional products are a great place to start. For more tips on how to lower your risk of heart disease at any age, disease, visit the American Heart Association.