3 Important Tips On How To Be Heart-Healthy Living
Why do we observe American Heart Month every February? Every year, more than 600,000 Americans die from heart disease. Heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. Risk factors include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, and excessive alcohol use.
Heart-healthy living involves understanding your risk, making choices, and taking steps to reduce your chances of getting heart disease.
Do you know how to keep your heart healthy? You can take an active role in reducing your risk for heart disease by eating a healthy diet, engaging in physical activity, and managing your cholesterol and blood pressure. This is a great chance to start some heart-healthy habits!
Understanding Your Risks:
Preventing heart disease starts with knowing what your risks factors are and what you can do to lower them. Your risk can depend on many different things, some you can change, others are not changeable.
Risk factors are conditions or habits that make a person more likely to develop a disease and can be different for each person.
Your risk of heart disease is higher if you:
-Are overweight or obese
-Have prediabetes or diabetes
-Do not get regular physical activity
-Family history of early heart disease (your father or brother was diagnosed before age 55, or your mother or sister was diagnosed before age 65)
-History of preeclampsia (a sudden rise in blood pressure and too much protein in the urine during pregnancy)
-Have unhealthy eating behaviors
-Are older (age 55 or older for women or age 45 or older for men)
Some of these risk factors such as family history, age and sex, cannot be changed. However, a lot of these risk factors can be monitored and changed in order to have a heart healthy lifestyle. Making changes can be done gradually, but they are important to make!
Start Your Self Care Here!
There is a lot you can do to prevent the number one cause of death. It may seem challenging to take the time to take care of your heart – but following some of these simple small acts of care will add up and keep your heart healthy!
-Get a daily dose of physical activity, such as a brisk, 30-minute walk.
-Cook meals that are low in sodium and unhealthy fats. Eat fruits and veggies when hunger hits.
-Take your medications as prescribed and keep your medical appointments.
-Sleep 7-8 hours a night.
-Managing stress through meditation, yoga, a warm bath, or quiet time with a good book or funny movie.
-Destress at a yoga class at Ascend! Join in the fun at Ascend’s classes held during the day for a nice break from work!
How Can I Participate in Heart Month?
Taking care of your heart health has never been more important and there’s a lot you can do to prevent heart disease. Encourage others to join you. There are dozens of ways to spread heart health messages during February and beyond.
Here are a few:
Join the #OurHearts movement
You can join the movement by sharing on social media how you’re working with friends or family to be heart healthy. Encourage your friends and family to as well. Be sure to use the hashtag!
#OurHearts is an inspiring way for The Heart Truth® to encourage and motivate everyone to adopt heart-healthy behaviors, together. Research shows having social support and personal networks makes getting regular physical activity, eating healthy, losing weight, reducing stress, and quitting smoking easier.
Wear red on the first Friday of February (February 4th)
You can show your support by wearing red for National Wear Red Day to raise awareness about heart disease and encourage others to do the same.
Start a challenge
Challenge your workplace or friends to participate in a “steps” contest. Use activity trackers to see which team takes the most steps.
Try a new recipe weekly.
Ask friends and family to share their favorite heart-healthy recipe with you.
Share your heart healthy ideas with us on our social media!
Follow us to see our ideas and how we will participate in Heart Health month!
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