Champaign Family YMCA provides tips and programs during Heart Month


February is American Heart Month, and with recently-published research indicating blood pressure control has worsened in both men and women since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Champaign Family YMCA urges Champaign County community members to make their health a priority by getting a blood pressure screening.

Blood pressure guidelines from American Heart Association indicate that nearly half of all Americans (46 percent) have high blood pressure. High blood pressure is often referred to as “The Silent Killer” because there are typically no warning signs or symptoms.

While high blood pressure and heart disease are serious conditions, the good news is a healthy heart is an achievable goal through lifestyle changes such as lowering sodium intake, eating healthier, and getting more physical activity. Getting help can be as easy as contacting the Y and taking part in any of the Adult Group Exercise Classes, Aqua Fitness Classes, Personal Training, and participating in the Fit Start Program.

The Y also has a variety of Offsite Fitness Classes to best serve commuters.

In addition to monitoring your blood pressure, reducing sodium intake is a great way to keep your heart healthy. Per the American Heart Association (AHA), too much sodium in your system puts an extra burden on your heart and blood vessels. In some people, this may lead to or raise high blood pressure.

Everyone, including kids, should reduce their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day (about 1 teaspoon of salt). Having less sodium in your diet may help you lower or avoid high blood pressure.

“While there are many ways to keep your heart healthy, making a conscious effort to tackle your blood pressure and decrease sodium intake are two quick, effective ways to prevent heart disease,” said Nolan Conley, Wellness Coordinator, Champaign Family YMCA. “No matter what your heart health goal is this year, the Y has a variety of resources to help you get started and achieve them.”

The Champaign Family YMCA offers a community of diverse individuals who can support all people in meeting their health and well-being goals. Learn more by visiting or stopping into your local Y.

The Medicine Shoppe is coming to the Champaign Family YMCA to provide free blood pressure and blood sugar screenings on Feb. 9 and Feb. 20 from 9 to 11 a.m.

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