Are you showing your heart some love?
February is hearth health month and it’s important to remember what we can do to keep this organ in great shape. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S. Shocked? Buckle in for this next fact—it’s also preventable and controllable. You might think you have to go to great lengths to avoid heart complications, but turns out it’s more simple than you might expect. Here are small steps you can take to be on your way to great heart health:
—Exercise regularly. We have a YouTube series called Operation Be Fit where fitness trainer Christina Carrillo shows you great exercises to keep you in shape. Staying in shape can help boost your morale, give you more energy and confidence, and well as reduce the risk of many types of heart disease.
—Eat healthy. Operation Be Fit also shows you great recipes you can try at home for greater health. Aiming for 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day and swapping sugary drinks for fresh water are examples of ways to help ensure you have a balanced diet.
—Keep your cholesterol in check. Cholesterol is a fatty substance your body needs some of, but not too much. Excessive cholesterol can build on the walls of your arteries, putting you at risk for strokes and heart disease. A simple blood test can determine what your cholesterol level is; be sure to have regular check ups as advised by your doctor to ensure you are on track.
—Watch your blood pressure. You can easily have it measured at your doctor’s office, at home, or a local pharmacy. High blood pressure often has no symptoms but can cause many complications, which is why it’s been called the silent killer. High blood pressure can lead to different complications you can avoid by taking this precaution. Be aware that excessive drinking can also lead to increased blood pressure.
—Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking greatly increases the risk of heart disease which can lead to death; second hand smoking is also dangerous and puts others around you at risk. According to the CDC, 46.6 million adults in the U.S. smoke, and 88 million nonsmoking Americans are exposed to second hand smoking each year. About 49,000 nonsmoking adults die annually and between 150,000-300,000 children younger than 18 months experience respiratory infections, all due to exposure to second hand smoking.
—Maintain a healthy weight. You can check to see if your weight is in a healthy range by calculating your BMI. Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, exercising with a buddy, and enlisting the help of friends and family to keep you accountable to a healthy diet are all ways to help maintain an excellent weight.
Remember, it’s up to you to maintain a healthy heart. What are other ways you take care of your health? Post a comment below to tell us.