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Though we just celebrated Valentine’s Day with much hoopla and in joyous ways, it does well to remember Valentine’s Day is every day.

The best gift you can give yourself on Valentine’s Day, and every day of the year, is the gift to your own heart.

I know you've heard these things a thousand times or more and may have elected to ignore them, believe “it can't matter to me,” or feel you're just not into it, but the fact of the matter is we need to be kind to our heart.

If your heart tires, wears out or doesn't work any more, you're without a motor, and there is no more. Discovering the fact of good health and how it affects your heart is usually not a concern until it threatens your life.

We take our heart for granted and don't always treat it like we could or should. We want to be healthy but not enough to work at it. Every minute of the day, three Americans have a heart attack. These yield some 800,000 deaths a year.

The number of American heart attacks in one year equals the total of all American deaths in 10 Vietnam wars. Over half of all Americans die from cardiovascular disease. That is more than the total death of all other causes — cancer, accidents, leukemia, etc.

Give a gift to your heart, yourself, and your family. Give serious thought to the care of your heart. Lifestyle is everything. Your heart works hard for our living. It deserves the best you can give it.

Your best friend works for you 24 hours a day. It pumps life-sustaining blood 12,000 miles a day to take care of all parts of your body.

It is not hard nor that easy to keep it pumping and sustaining our life — because we develop habits that interfere with the health of the heart.

Move it or lose it. No time to exercise?

Research has confirmed that physical inactivity is a major risk factor for heart disease. We know that people who are sedentary have a much greater chance of developing heart disease — and dying from it. We have also learned that you don't have to run a marathon every day to protect your heart. Moderate exercise, like regular walking, will do it.

Making exercise fun is important because you are apt to do it without even thinking about it.

You don't need a lot of expensive equipment or to spend hundreds of dollars on health club memberships. Just find ways to build activity into your normal day. All you need is a good pair of walking shoes and the willingness to move out of your comfort zone. The older you are, the more you need exercise. It helps prevent bone loss and reduces the risk of dozens of diseases.

If you can walk to the telephone you can walk around the block. Park your car farther away from the office. Take the stairs at work instead of the elevator. Walk the dog; it will do you both some good. Try exercising every time there is a commercial on your television disrupting your program. You're apt to get more exercise than you may want or need. Three 10-minute sessions add up to 30 minutes, which is all you need each day to stay healthy.

Commercial endeavors that taste good or make life easier sometimes get in the way and hide in unsuspected places. Even good things can be two-sided and provoke our well-being.

It isn't that we haven't heard it often enough or that we don't know better. We just don't think it affects us or that little bit won't hurt, forgetting sometimes those "little bits" get together and become "big bits."

Stress is a characteristic of modern life, but we don't have to succumb to it. Create a realistic perspective, clarify goals and unwind through exercise or a hobby. Thinking concern? Don't worry. If something is over, it can't be undone.

If you can't do anything about it, let it go. Ask yourself, “What the worst thing that can happen?” and then deal with it.

Children do what adults do, meaning they pick up unhealthy habits at an early age. 

Too much meat, not enough fruits or vegetables. They drink sugar drinks and not enough water. They don't exercise. Some may even go on to smoke.

They say, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” I beg to differ. They may be forever, but I say your heart is your best friend because without it beating there would be an end.

If you truly love someone, take care of yourself so you will be there for them.

Birthdays and anniversaries:

• Thursday, February 20th: Hadley Routh, Derek Flesche, Amy Shaunce, David Swearingen, Joyce Lageson Hoddick, LuAnn Sommer Granholdt, David & LeAnn Hanson, Jim & Nancy Cornelius

• Friday, February 21st: Jeannie Worrell, Andy Butler, Phillip Ingvaldson, Bryan Dirkson, Leanna Peterson, Chris & Kim Jensen, Darrell & Cynthia Farr, Max & Marlene Jensen

• Saturday, February 22nd: Shelia Nelson White, Carlie Thompson, Dalys Waltz, Joan & Marian Mast

• Sunday, February 23rd: Sharon Gasner Ramaker, Bernie Warnke, Josh Krueger, Markus Allen Misgen, Daniel Suelter, Dale Waltz, Tiffany Mischke, Daniel Walterman, Laura & Jamie Baudoin

• Monday, February 24th: Jerry Hemingway, Rick Draper, Nathan Wayne, Roxy Menefee Ray, Sarah Zamora, Nancy Larson, Kathy & Daryl Reed

• Tuesday, February 25th: Berniece Farr Mattson, Colton Hagen, Brad Hagen, LuAnn Miller, Sherri Larson Fritz, Steve & Vicky Dobberstein

• Wednesday, February 26th: Sharon Menefee, Shawn Jensen, Becky Lassahn, Ray Coxworth, Ginger Cornelius, Mary Lou Spurr, Chris Sauke, Mike Glynn, Jeff & Robin Christensen, Joel & Peg Radjenovich

Wishing you quiet moments of beauty on your special day!

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