The heart may not be the strongest or largest muscle in the human body, but it’s arguably the most important, beating roughly 35 million times each year just to keep you going every day.
However, one out of every four deaths is attributed to heart disease, making it the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. In fact, most people don’t know that cardiovascular disease (CVD) kills more Americans than all cancer deaths combined.
Heart-healthy living doesn’t have to be hard, so in honor of American Heart Month here are a few simple tips to keep your clock ticking like normal.
Don’t be afraid of the word “diet.” There are plenty of foods that are heart friendly and can still taste great, such as oatmeal, berries, and salmon. Dieting also doesn’t mean that you have to completely cut certain foods out of your life.
Moderation is a key aspect to dieting, so make sure that you limit things like sodium, which can make your heart work harder when consumed in excess. Protein is a good thing; just try to limit meat servings to roughly the size of your palm. Living at a healthy weight for your size is big part of heart-healthy living.
You don’t need a fancy gym membership to work out. Even in winter, there are plenty of simple ways to keep active. According to the American Heart Association, walking is one of the easiest ways to help your heart.
Just 30 minutes of exercise a day can provide heart health benefits, so fit in some cardio where you can, whether that’s walking around the mall or grocery store while shopping or simply going up and down stairs at home. Even housework can help you reach your goal!
There are plenty of free apps for your mobile device that can keep track the amount of steps each day, letting you know just how active you are on a daily basis.
Check out this list of the 25 best fitness apps to help you keep track.
Everyone needs to blow off some steam once in a while, but make sure to not harm your heart for the sake of relaxation. Smoking can lead to coronary heart disease in addition to a variety of other health issues. Much like certain foods, alcohol should be enjoyed in moderation. High levels of stress can negatively impact blood pressure.
Combat stress by finding an activity that you enjoy, like starting a new hobby or listening to music. Even sitting calmly and comfortably for 10 minutes can lead to a healthier future.
Physicians: Spread the Word
Get a free 11x17 “Think Again” poster from the Ohio State Medical Association to encourage patients and professionals to “think again” about the risk factors and symptoms associated with heart disease, particularly as it relates to their gender and ethnicity.
Download the Free Thank Again Campaign Poster (11”X17”)
What steps are you taking to be more heart healthy this month? Let us know in the comments below.
DISCLAIMER: This blog is for informational purposes only. It does not replace medical care from a licensed physician. If you have a medical concern, please contact your doctor.
Photo Credit: “Red Fruits” by Martijn Van Sabben is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0