February is American Heart Month. Make it the month you develop playful habits to make your heart happy.

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. It’s not surprising that February, the month of Valentines and lacy hearts, is also American Heart Month, and a time to reflect on how we’re treating our tickers. Luckily for those of us who love play, we already enjoy a great way to prevent heart disease. In fact, by simply getting out and playing, we can keep our own heart health under check while helping to develop healthy hearts in our kids. Here are four heart healthy play tips:

Play with healthy foods (and eat them!). Making meals fun and engaging will help you think about the foods that you are eating. When you sit down to a meal, take the time to think about where your food came from and how it will fuel you for the day. Play with your food. Turn it into art. Being mindful of your food will help you eat a healthier diet, which your heart likes.

Play actively regularly. Active play is the best way to get needed exercise. So get outside with the kids and play. Don’t just watch or lead. Follow the kids’ lead and run around. Play tag. Join the football game. Teach your kids four square. You and your kids’ hearts will benefit.

Don’t play with smoking. Alright, this is the opposite of play, but smoking is the leading cause of heart disease. If you’re a smoker, you are up to four times more likely to develop heart disease in your life (not to mention other diseases). And… think about the kids. You’re a role model. So if you want to help kids develop healthy habits, be a positive role model and don’t smoke. Need help stopping? Seek it out. Here are some resources from the American Heart Association.

Play regularly to manage stress. Yep. More play. And it doesn’t have to be play with kids either (though it can be!). Instead choose the kind of play that makes you feel at ease, even happy. Not sure what to do? Sit down with a paper and pen and write down as many things as you can think of that make you happy. When you’re done, pick a few and schedule them into your week. You’ll become less stressed, and your heart will be happier.

Looking for play ideas? Check out our online games library for fun activities for all kids and adults.

How do you keep your heart healthy?


More Resources

Kids jumping in the air
Kids jumping in the air

June 17, 2024

Games to Play in the Summer ›

Summertime is here!  The first few weeks of summer bring fun and excitement and the return of free time and fun, seasonal activities. But as the summer stretches on, it…

January 12, 2024

Indoor Recess Transition Plan ›

From snow and cold to rain, smog, and everything in between, weather can throw a wrench in your outdoor recess plans. When inclement weather strikes, transitioning to indoor play can…

Junior Coach holding ball
Junior Coach holding ball

September 20, 2023

Empowered youth to community leaders ›

The importance of youth leadership programming in elementary schools Childhood is spent brimming with fascinations of the future – ideas of what infinite potential can amount to, ambitions of fulfilling…