Updated: Jan 28
Did you know that cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack are the number one killer of men and women in the U.S.? That's staggering!
And heart disease can happen at any age. High rates of obesity and high blood pressure put you at risk for heart disease earlier in life. And according to the CDC, nearly half of all Americans have at least one of the top three risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.
Fortunately, there is good news. There are three things you can do starting right now to reduce your risk of heart disease and support a strong and healthy heart for a long and healthy life.
1. Exercise. Your heart is a muscle, and like any other muscle in the body, it benefits from regular physical activity. But did you also know that regular exercise can also help reduce your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes? And these are all risk factors of heart disease. These benefits are even greater when practiced with other healthy lifestyle behaviors, such as reducing consumption of added sugars, salts, processed foods and deep fried foods and alcohol.
How much exercise do you need to reap these heart healthy benefits? The American Heart Association recommends 30 min. of moderate to vigorous intensity exercise 5 days a week.
Sound overwhelming? Break it up into manageable chunks - just 10 minutes here and there really add up!
2. Eat Healthy. A higher percentage of fat held around the midsection - belly, waist, and hips - has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Balanced nutrition empowers our ability to maintain a healthy waistline while also supporting healthy body function. A diet comprised of lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats, while minimizing added sugars, salts and unhealthy fats is a great place to start. An easy way to cut back on the bad stuff is to limit the amount of processed food, store bought baked goods, and fast food items that are consumed in your regular diet.
3. Reduce stress. Chronic daily stress wears on your health - physically, mentally, and spiritually! And over time, this adds strain your heart. Explore ways you can actively reduce the amount of stress in your day-to-day life and implement a few healthy coping tools and techniques to help minimize the influence of stress when it does occur.
Activities that emphasize mindfulness help you live in the moment, reducing anxiety and worry about the past or future. Practices such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing, and journaling are great ways to remove yourself from the stressor and channel your energy in a more positive way, helping you to manage more effectively.
Studies show that regularly engaging in stress reduction practices helps to lower blood pressure, reduce muscle tension and induces a state of calm. All of which helps you to slow down the negative thoughts racing in your head, allowing you to see things more clearly, recognize what is in and outside of your control, so you can feel a sense of relief. How great is that?
What will you do today to support a healthy heart?
Are you are a woman who is ready to live healthier and happier, ditch the diet, and discover small steps that make a big impact so you can live a life you love in a body you are proud of? Come join me inside my women’s-only Facebook Group - The Healthy Habits Club. It's where busy women go for tips, tools and support so they can stress less, eat healthy, move daily, and feel good for life!