Happy Heart Month everyone! That’s right, once again we’re into February and that means for the entire month it’s time to raise awareness for heart health. According to the CDC, approximately 610,000 Americans die from heart disease every year. That is a staggeringly large number. So what can we do to change that?
This Heart Month we’re giving you six easy ways to be heart-healthy so that we can start to change the story for America. Let’s be heart-healthy together!
Cut Down on Sedentary Time
Okay so you knew this first one was coming – change your sedentary behaviors!! The average office worker sits anywhere from nine to 12 hours a day, and some sit more. This incredible amount of sitting can cause serious problems for your cardiovascular health, since movement is what helps get your blood pumping. While many office jobs require long days at a desk, the WalkTop is an easy solution to turn regularly sedentary time into valuable movement. Walk and work at the same time and do your heart a favor.
Avoid Foods High in Salt, Saturated Fats or Trans Fats
The next big one is diet. We all know that certain foods are more heart-healthy than others, but what in specific should we be avoiding? There are many rules about which foods to avoid and which to seek out, but in general it’s best to limit your intake of foods that are high in salt, saturated fats or trans fats. Some of these items include things like heavy cream, butter, bacon and other unhealthy snacks like fast food or donuts. For more detailed information on a heart-healthy diet, visit the American Heart Association website.
Get Regular Check-Ups
Unfortunately, even those of us who are doing everything right health-wise can still encounter heart health concerns. Certain people are more predisposed to heart disease than others, whether it’s because of genetics or other environmental factors. The bottom line is that it’s important to visit your doctor for regular check-ups to ensure that your ticker is still ticking the way it should be. For helpful information on how often you should have your heart checked, check out this blog post.
Take Time to Destress
With the hustle and bustle of our Western culture, it’s easy to get stressed and overwhelmed with the number of tasks that need to be done. But it’s important to take steps to manage your stress and give yourself a break when need be, because too much stress can have damaging effects to the heart. According to the American Heart Association, stress can contribute to other health factors that in turn contribute to heart disease, including high blood pressure and cholesterol. For tips on how to manage or reduce your stress, take a look at our recent blog post.
Exercise is so important for heart health! Your heart is a muscle, and just like other muscles in your body it needs to be worked in order to get stronger. Find an exercise routine that you enjoy and that works with your schedule and stick to it. Also make sure not to go from zero to 100; if you haven’t worked out in a while, start small and slowly work your way up so that you don’t overstress your heart at the beginning. This article from the Mayo Clinic gives you a better idea of just how much and how often you should be exercising.
Last but not least, control your portion size. Overeating on a regular basis can cause weight gain, which in turn can contribute to high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Portion control is therefore key to ensure that we’re getting the right amount of nutrition for our bodies to be healthy, but not more than we need. Learn the difference between a portion and a serving so that you can be more conscious of your eating habits.
Let’s make February the best Heart Month yet – start living heart-healthy today!