Did you know February is National Heart Health Month?
It's a great time to explore the simple ways you can strengthen your heart and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Because sadly according to the American Heart Associate, 1 in 3 women are diagnosed with heart disease annually.
The good news? In most cases, heart disease is preventable.
Studies show adopting a healthy lifestyle, which includes factors such as maintaining a healthy weight, controlling blood sugar and cholesterol levels, treating high blood pressure, quitting smoking and getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week along with getting in those regular health check-ups are all key.
To help you support a healthy heart, for today and tomorrow, check out these eight simple ways to get started!
Know your stats
Heart disease doesn't just effect older populations. In fact, many of the following health conditions and unhealthy lifestyle behaviors that put people at risk are appearing at younger ages:
High blood pressure
Lack of physical activity
Unhealthy food habits
What can you do to improve your health and lower your risk?
There are four simple steps you can take to reduce your risk dramatically, no matter your age:
Don’t smoke. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.
Manage health conditions. Work with your health care providers to manage conditions, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Make heart-healthy food changes. Aim to fill half your plate with vegetables and fruits. Reduce consumption of trans fats, saturated fats, added sugars, and sodium.
Stay active. Get moving for at least 150 minutes per week. Just 10 minute increments broken up throughout the day can add up quick!
How to maintain it
Once you've made some healthy heart improvements, the key is to maintain it.
1. Follow a healthy and balanced eating plan: consuming a balance of lean proteins, healthy fats, whole grains and lots of fruits and veggies.
2. Regularly engage in physically activity: the American Heart Association recommends 30min. of moderate to vigorous exercise 5 days a week. What counts as exercise? Here are some simple ways to get started.
3. Stay up to date on wellness exams: partner with a health care provider you trust to help monitor your health & fitness, watch your numbers and keep an eye out for possible signs of increased health risk. Naturopaths, primary care physicians, gynecologists, health coaches, nutritionists, personal trainers - they're all great resources!
4. Know your family history: while you can't escape your DNA, knowing your health risks will help you stay proactive and work to decrease them!
5. Reduce daily stressors: stress less and smile more. Sounds simple right? So many of us live under a constant state of stress, and that creates a BIG challenge to your mental and physical health, especially your heart. Click here for 4 simple ways you can reduce daily stress.
6. Watch your waistline: belly fat is linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Crunches and planks are great for building a strong core, but exercise alone won't keep belly fat at bay. If you want to reduce your waistline, it starts in the kitchen. Reducing autopilot and emotional eating and learning to listen to your hunger is a simple yet effective way to reduce overeats that often lead to excess calories. And when you're hungry, reach for nutrient dense foods, to keep you feeling and functioning your best. Click here for 4 simple ways to start eating better now.
7. Get your zzzz's: getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night has been shown to boost memory, enhance immunity, reduce inflammation, increase productivity, sharpen mental focus, support a healthier waistline, reduce daily stress, and empower healthier habits. All of which add up to a healthier you!
8. Know the signs for heart attack and stroke: the symptoms are different for men and women. From numbness and weakness in the face, arms and legs, to sudden blurry vision, dizziness and/or mental confusion, to a severe headache with no known cause, often symptoms are overlooked. Visit www.heart.org for more information.
Take away - time is precious and so is your health! The time you spend taking care of your body now will pay you back for years to come. Taking a few proactive steps today will help you reduce your risk health issues down the road, and prevention is always better for mind and body (not to mention your pocketbook). Start with one small habit at a time. Maybe it's drinking more water, or increasing fruit and veggies. It could be taking a walk after dinner instead of sitting down in front of the t.v. or recruiting a workout buddy to hold you accountable. And scheduling that annual wellness exam is always a good idea!
Are you tired of starting over every Monday, hopping from diet to diet, wondering if you'll ever get it "right" so that you can lose the weight and become the best version of you? I’ve got you friend! Come join me inside my FREE women’s-only Facebook community: Eat Better with Coach Mindy. It's for busy women like you who are ready to lose weight, gain energy, get healthy and fit -- without restrictive diets or punishing food rules.