The boxes and red foil hearts of chocolates and candy are now empty. Although knowing that your special someone cares about you makes your heart flutter, the sweets are actually blocking your arteries. So how can you prevent cardiac blockage and maintain a healthy heart?

Aerobic exercises: Our gym locations offer water aerobics, a large selection of treadmills and stationary bikes and aerobics classes including Zumba classes. Any of these exercises are perfect workouts for your heart. Just two and a half hours a week (or 30 minutes a day) will keep your blood pressure down and your heart strong.

Steer clear of tobacco: A smoke might be relaxing, but it’s one of the biggest causes of clogged arteries and heart damage. With over 4,000 chemicals inhaled with each drag, it’s not very surprising that it’s one of the leading causes of heart attacks. Quit smoking and you’ll get immediate results. By year’s end you will greatly reduce the chance of having a heart attack.

Healthy Eating: In a perfect world, anything deep-fried or processed would be strengthen your heart and clear your arteries. In reality, these foods are doing exactly the opposite. A diet composed of whole-grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and fish is the best way to keep your heart healthy and strong.

Get a check-up, constantly: Check-ups are readily available at our Future Fitness locations and it’s important that you utilize these services. High blood pressure and cholesterol are key indicators of an unhealthy heart. Getting check-ups will help you regulate your blood-pressure and cholesterol and let you see results of all your hard work.

So, next year when you put your heart on-the-line for Valentine’s Day, make sure it’s healthy and strong.