February is the second month of the year and a time to celebrate love, beauty, and power, particularly of the heart!
Did you know that in 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the first American Heart Month to tackle heart disease in the United States? This has made February a time when all people can focus on their cardiovascular health.
Nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure and don’t even know it! High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is when the force of blood flowing through the blood vessels is consistently too high.
Hypertension can lead to a plethora of health risks, including cognitive decline, vision loss, strokes, heart disease, or even heart failure. Furthermore, women and African Americans face unique risks when it comes to high blood pressure.
While the heart does not physically control or affect our feelings of love, it has been a symbol of that emotion since the 15th century. When we see or experience something we love, the brain releases feel-good chemicals that often cause the heart to beat faster.
The heart affects every part of the body. By living a healthy lifestyle, you can help keep your blood pressure in a healthy range and lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Below is a list of 10 things to add to your activity calendars for February 2022 to help keep your residents’ hearts happy & healthy!
February 1: Celebrate Dark Chocolate Day
Start the month off right with a sweet celebration of dark chocolate! Thanks to its high percentage of cocoa and lower amounts of sugar & milk, dark chocolate’s health benefits make it a potential superfood.
Yes, there are various benefits of eating dark chocolate but our focus this month is the heart. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease. Plus who doesn’t feel happy eating a little chocolate every day, and a happy head leads to a happy heart.
The darker the better – your best bet for the most benefits is 70% cocoa or higher. When shopping for chocolatey delights for your residents, your staff, or yourself, make sure cocoa is one of the first ingredients and sugar is near the end of the list.
Click HERE for 10 Easy, Healthy Dark Chocolate Recipes from Everyday Health!
February 4: Live Virtual Tour – Khajuraho Temples in India
Khajuraho, a small town with a population of around 20 thousand people, is world-famous for its medieval Hindu and Jain temples. It is counted amongst the popular travel destinations of India and is home to many architectural marvels.
The temples of Khajuraho are famous for the figures carved in stone, with rare artistic skills, the spirituality of the time, music, dance, celebrations, as well as human emotions such as fear, doubt, jealousy, love, and passion. Together they represent one of the most beautiful expressions of medieval Indian art and architecture.
With our tour guide, Rishi, we will explore the historic site and see why locals and tourists alike love to visit the temples.
Click HERE to sign up for our Live Virtual Tour of Khajuraho Temples in India!
February 7: Wake Up Yoga Flow
Studies have shown that performing some simple yoga moves in the morning can boost your circulation & immune system, help reduce stress & anxiety, and put you in a positive mindset for the day ahead, all of which help support a healthy heart.
Join certified yoga instructor, Gina, in this intermediate yoga flow. She has fallen in love with yoga both on and off the mat and loves to mix things up and have fun, moving the body in different ways each Monday.
Click HERE to sign up for our Wake Up Yoga Flow class!
February 9: LIIT Low-Impact Interval Training
This workout is for those who want a challenge but want less impact. We will work in intervals of work to rest. The moves will build muscle mass, tone your body, burn calories, improve bone density, and increase endurance.
Join fitness instructor, Stacy, in a variety of exercises to challenge both your brain and your body. Options are given to increase or decrease the intensity. All you need is space to move (and an optional set of dumbbells). Stacy will educate you, motivate you, and challenge you to be the best that you can be!
Click HERE to sign up for our LIIT Low-Impact Interval Training class!
February 12: Weekend Watch Party – Belgium’s Michelin Star Sausage Rolls on Paul Hollywood’s City Bakes
Sausage rolls are popular savory snacks featuring flaky puff pastry wrapped around a flavorful meat filling. While sausage rolls did not originate in Belgium, a local chef has evolved this classic bar food into a Michelin star experience!
Paul experiences many of the foodie delights available in Antwerp, Belgium, including favorites such as chocolate, potato fries, waffles, and, of course, sausage rolls. Motivated by the local bakers, Paul then dreams up two new recipes of his very own.
You might be inspired to bake up a batch or two to snack on while enjoying the show or even invite your residents to try their hand at their own sausage rolls using this simple recipe.
Click HERE to sign up for our Weekend Watch Party of City Bakes!
February 13: Happy Galentine’s Day
You read that right – Galentine’s Day! While the fellas are watching The Big Game (aka The Super Bowl), the gals can get together and celebrate their friendships.
This relatively new holiday first appeared on an episode of Parks & Recreation in 2010, quickly gaining popularity the following year. In the shows, the gals exchange gifts and celebrate over a waffle brunch, and there’s no reason your residents can’t do the same!
Make mini heart waffles using this waffle maker from Target, top them with fresh berries, serve with sparkling beverages, and it is sure to be an event to remember!
Click HERE for the Loveliest Menu for a Galentine’s Day Brunch from AllRecipes!
Peru is the third-largest country in South America. It is home to a section of the Amazon rainforest and Machu Picchu. The name Peru is derived from a traditional Quechua word implying land of abundance.
Much of that abundance is put on display at open-air markets across the country. The San Camilo market is one of the largest in southern Peru. It was born after the 1868 earthquake, which destroyed the sumptuous church of San Camilo. In 1938, this food center was inaugurated.
Markets are where many locals do their shopping but they draw many tourists as well. In this market tour, you will observe groceries, juices, and crafts. In addition, you will learn more about the culture of the city, its customs, clothes, music, & more.
With our tour guide, Mauricio, we will discover all kinds of market products and traditional Peruvian foods.
Click HERE to sign up for our Live Virtual Tour of the markets & foods of Arequipa!
February 20: Celebrate National Love Your Pet Day
Pets have been a part of human life for thousands of years! Aside from the unconditional love that pets, particularly dogs, provide us, interacting with them can actually boost our health.
Having to walk a dog requires you to get up and be a little active. But even just petting an animal releases feel-good chemicals in your brain that reduce stress and help protect your heart from the risk of heart disease.
Invite your local shelter to bring in some of their dogs & cats for the residents to pet and play with. Your residents could even make toys or treats for the animals to share with them on their special day.
Click HERE to see 20 Best Homemade Dogs Treat Recipes compiled by Women’s Day!
February 24: Celebrate National Chili Day
Believe it or not, the spicy component in peppers cuts the risk of heart attack. And what better way to incorporate a little extra spice into your day than some hearty chili!
Chili is the ultimate cook-off food! Everyone has their family recipe or secret ingredient that makes their chili the best. Invite your staff to make their best chili to share with the residents and vote on who really makes the best.
Another fun way to celebrate this day is to set up a chili toppings bar. While it might not necessarily be self-serve, you can still give your residents lots to choose from. Be sure to include classic toppings like shredded cheese, sour cream, and cornbread, but also throw in some unsuspected extras such as radishes, lime wedges, and ranch dressing.
Click HERE to see Jessica’s favorite way to set up a chili bar at How Sweet Eats!
Italy has a standing reputation as being one of the most romantic countries in the world! And this isn’t just a foreigner’s thought – Italians recognize themselves as romantic, too!
Host Ryan Shirley says, “This is one of my favorite videos I’ve ever made, and I can’t wait to share it with you!”
He is rightfully excited – Italy is easily one of the most incredible countries on earth! From the jaw-dropping Amalfi Coast, to the surreal city of Venice, to the beautifully jagged Dolomites, Italy has it all!
Since food and love are so closely tied in Italy, consider having a make-your-own pizza party or a spaghetti supper with a heart-healthy glass of red wine to carry the feeling through the evening.
Click HERE to sign up for our Weekend Watch Party of Italy’s Ultimate Travel Guide!
I hope these ideas will help you plan out a February your residents will love! Comment below and let us know your favorite way to keep your heart healthy!