February may be the shortest month of the year, but it is without a doubt our community’s biggest celebration of the heart. We proclaim our heartfelt love for one another on Valentine’s Day, passionately cheer for our favorite team during Super Bowl, patriotically commemorate the former leaders of our country on Presidents Day, and most importantly, celebrate the strongest and most important organ in our bodies (that is, the heart) during American Heart Month.
You may have noticed that many of February’s biggest celebrations are all about the heart — the heart of our emotions, the heart of our minds, and the heart of our bodies.
And though Valentine’s Day may be a more exciting holiday for some or Presidents Day a more relaxing holiday or Super Bowl the most talked about, observing the importance of a commemoration that both celebrates our health and instills the reminder of how important it is to take care of our bodies is the celebration everyone should pay attention to the most.
It’s no secret that even moderate physical activity helps strengthen our hearts, reduces heart disease, and keeps us living longer, healthier lives so that we can keep enjoying all that life has to offer. With green spaces across Bakersfield, North of the River can help you take steps to care for your heart.
I encourage you to show some love to your wellness at one of our 24 parks:
Take a walk. The American Heart Association notes that “It can improve our cholesterol levels, blood pressure and energy levels, plus it can fight weight gain to improve heart health overall.” Undoubtedly, walking is one of the best and easiest forms of exercise for heart health.
Enjoy green spaces. Stress affects healthy habits, triggers inflammation and may increase blood pressure. Visiting the park and enjoying natural spaces can be an effective way to lower stress and extend care for how your mental health affects your heart’s health.
Say hi. Social isolation and loneliness may increase the risk of heart attack or stroke, according to a new report from the American Heart Association. By spending time with friends and family at the park or even meeting new people, you can take the first steps toward a happier, more satisfied, and more fulfilled life — all showing love for your heart.
Learn more information about NOR’s facilities and parks on our social media channels (@norrecreation on Instagram and @NORfun on Facebook) and on our website at NORfun.org.
Jasmin LoBasso is the superintendent of Recreation & Community Services at North of the River Recreation and Park District.