Coronary Cupid and the healthy hearts

This Valentine's Day, students can do more for their hearts than just fall in love.

Pink and red hearts stain almost every shelf of every store during the first two weeks of February. A well-groomed and tacky holiday for consumerism? Probably. A day for true love? Maybe. This Valentine’s Day, students can do more for their hearts than fall in love.

Coronary heart disease and stroke are now the No. 1 and No. 3 killers of Americans. Think Cupid as a chubby cherub is bad enough? Try it when Cupid has a sagging gut and plastic arteries and is as flightless as a dodo bird at the age of 40. The American Heart Association outlines a simple “ABC” prevention plan: Avoid tobacco. Be more active. Choose good nutrition. Avoid trans and saturated fats in favor of tasty veggies and white meats. It’s all the same boring stuff. But at heart, it means the difference between a life lived too short and a life lived to the fullest. And we’re not talking about stomachs.

Managing diet and exercise are the hardest parts of taking care of your heart. But balanced nutrition and staying active are key elements in keeping blood pressure and cholesterol low. Pretty easy, eh? Try telling it to the millions of Americans too busy working and surrounded by what is essentially poison in colorful packaging. Working out decreases stress, which, in turn, lowers blood pressure. Moderate amounts of alcohol ” one drink per day for women and two for men ” actually decreases the risk of heart disease. But don’t drink too much. If you don’t have time to work out, at least try to relax. Breathe. Breathe deeply. Imagine a world run by Jimmy Carters, abolishing student debt forevermore.

This Valentine’s Day, don’t stress if you don’t have a date. You’re not that constipated. Thank the almighty Cupid that you don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend. Think of the freedom. Have fun this Valentine’s Day. Throw cage-free eggs at your neighbor’s house. Do something physical physical with your significant other ” yes, we mean have (safe) sex if you want to. Ice-skate. Dance Dance Revolution. Shovel that sidewalk. Bike race the light rail train to downtown Minneapolis. See the theme here? Have fun and a healthy heart ” Valentine’s Day is a great day to start.