Updated: Jul 2, 2019
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.? Fortunately there are some steps you can take right now to reduce your risk of disease and strengthen your heart health.
The first step to improving heart health is to assess your current health stats. Are there areas of your health & fitness that you could improve? Do you have specific health conditions, such as high blood pressure or a significant increase in belly fat that need to be addressed? Is it time to reduce stress in your life in order to improve your mental, physical and spiritual state? Knowing what isn't working for you will help you determine where the most effective changes can be made and in turn offer the most meaningful results.
6 Things you can do right now to improve heart health:
Limit alcohol consumption (one drink a day for women, two drinks a day for men)
Practice healthy eating habits
Engage in regular physical activity
Maintain a healthy weight
Know your numbers (i.e., cholesterol, blood pressure, BMI, waist to hip ratio)
So you've made some positive changes to your health and fitness and you starting to feel the healthy rewards of those changes. Now what? It's all about maintenance. Making those healthy habits a part of your regular routine will help ensure that they stay around for the long haul.
How to make healthy habits stick:
Follow a healthy and well balanced eating plan: a balance of lean proteins, healthy fats, whole grains and lots of fruits and veggies.
Engage in regular physically activity: the American Heart Association recommends 30min. of moderate to vigorous exercise 5 days a week. What counts as exercise? Here are a few fitness tips.
Keep up on regular 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 disease risk. Naturopaths, primary care physicians, gynecologists, health coaches, nutritionists, personal trainers - they are all great resources!
Know your family history: no you can't escape your DNA, but when you know your risks you can proactively help decrease them!
Reduce daily stressors: stress less and smile more. Sounds simple right? So many of us live under constant stress, and that is a BIG challenge to your whole health (mind, body and spirit), especially your heart. Here are some tips to help you stress less and enjoy more.
Maintain a healthy waistline: belly fat is linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Crunches and planks are great for fitness and building those deep abdominal muscles, but exercise alone won't keep the belly fat at bay. Watch those empty calorie intakes, be mindful of calorie intakes vs. expenditures, and be aware of the diet roller coaster. Here are a few more tips to help you empower healthy dietary habits.
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 stress, and empower healthier habits.
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.
Bottom line: our time is precious... and so is our health! The time we spend taking care of our body now will pay us back in droves. Taking a few small steps today to empower your health will help you reduce your risk of chronic health issues down the road. Start with just one thing, once you've got that down move on to another, then another and another...soon you'll have created a healthy lifestyle supported by healthy habits, for a long and healthy LIFE!
If you are a woman who is ready to live healthier and happier, ditch the diet, and discover small steps that will help you move more, stress less and eat healthier, then join my Healthy Habits for Weight Loss Facebook Group for healthy living tips, support, and fun!