Heart Health Awareness Month falls in February and is a great time to learn more about keeping your heart healthy. VA and the American Heart Association (AHA) want you to be aware of five important heart health numbers because they help providers determine your risk for developing cardiovascular disease:

  • Total cholesterol.
  • HDL (good) cholesterol.
  • Blood pressure.
  • Blood sugar.
  • Body Mass Index (BMI).

About 80 percent of heart disease and stroke events are preventable. VA health care providers can talk with you about your risks, help you learn and monitor your numbers, and partner with you to create a heart health plan with realistic and achievable goals. Schedule a visit with your provider today.

A healthy lifestyle and self-care can support your heart’s health. Awareness of your risk factors, knowing your heart numbers, and making healthy lifestyle choices can reduce your risks. Your efforts can also lower your risk for other diseases, like diabetes and cancer.

Studies have also shown that yoga may have benefits for your heart’s health. Yoga, as practiced in the United States, typically combines physical postures, breathing techniques and meditation. This mind-body practice can improve strength, flexibility, balance and relaxation. As part of an overall treatment plan, yoga may help manage blood pressure, heart rate, blood cholesterol and blood glucose levels, as well as reduce stress.

Join Danielle Olauson, yoga instructor and Whole Health employee well-being coordinator at the Portland VA Medical Center, in this 12-minute heart-focused chair yoga practice.

For more information on yoga and the Moving the Body component of Whole Health, visit: https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTH/circle-of-health/moving-body.asp.

For more information on American Heart Month from the AHA VA’s Women’s Health Services, visit February is American Heart Month – Women Veterans Health Care (va.gov).

By Alison M. Whitehead, MPH, C-IAYT, RYT-500, is the program lead for Integrative Health in the VHA Office of Patient Centered Care & Cultural Transformation

Share this story

Published on Feb. 14, 2022

Estimated reading time is 1.5 min.

Views to date: 2,007


  1. Kaisekare March 15, 2022 at 3:44 am

    Many poses in yoga can strengthen the core muscles in your stomach and back. A strong core leads to better posture, which can help prevent back and neck problems.

  2. Oliver Greenwood February 16, 2022 at 8:27 pm

    This was really nice. I could use a lot more of this.

Comments are closed.

More Stories

  • Do you have “text neck?” or pain in your head and neck? This acupressure for head and neck pain can help.

  • How often do you make things harder than they must or should be? This week's episode of #LiveWholeHealth is a progressive muscle relaxation to reduce stress and lighten your load. 

  • When we have aches and pains, we often notice our body “talking” to us. This Tai Chi basic moves practice helps with those aches and pains before they begin.