We’re not just talking about love, we’re talking about how to keep your heart healthy! (Not to say the two are mutually exclusive of course)
Hello again! Did you have a good Valentine’s Day? Perhaps with a nice glass of red wine and some dark chocolate?
We all know the heart is one of the most important organs of the body, and it’s one of the organs that undergoes the most stress. It keeps your body alive, pumping strong to get that blood from the toes of your feet to your brain and back again. This is why it’s crucial to maintain good health: poor diet and lack of exercise can have consequences on the organ that gives you life.
From the CDC, heart disease was the top killer in the United States in 2013. And yet, heart disease is a preventable cause of death that you have the power to change. You have the power to take steps and be mindful of your health.
Now that you’ve decided to take control of your health, what things should you be monitoring?
• Blood pressure
• Blood cholesterol
• Do you have a family history of heart disease?
• Do you exercise?
• Do you have a healthy diet?
• What’s your age?
• Do you smoke?
• What do you weigh?
All of these can be risk factors in developing heart disease. The more you make lifestyle choices for your heart that are in attempt to decrease your risk, the better chances for a healthier heart!
Here are some tips to lower your risk of developing heart disease:
• Consume a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables (which have loads of anti-inflammatory benefits from the phytochemicals).
• Exercise. And I don’t necessarily mean hard exercise. Simply walking or getting your body moving can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Get your heart pumping – it’s a muscle too! The more you work your heart out, the better it will feel and work for you. Those who exercise have lower blood pressure because their heart is more efficient at pumping, and thereby circulating the blood.
• Stop smoking, or don’t smoke to begin with. There are numerous consequences that smoking has on your health. If you’re looking to quit, now’s the time to make that into a reality.
• If you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol the good news is that creating a healthier, active lifestyle for yourself will do double duty and help lower both.
There are some risk factors you just can’t change, such as your age or your family history. But, most importantly you should focus on the things you can change and develop healthy lifestyle habits for your heart, and for your body and mind! Each time you choose to get up and walk rather than sit and watch the TV your heart – and your body – will thank you. If you’re new to it all, start gradually. Any little bit helps in the end!
Happy (belated) Valentine’s Day! 🙂
Question of the week: what activities will you do to reduce your heart disease risk?