Reduce Your Risk of Suffering a Heart Attack, Now!
Remember this Old Adage, “An Apple a day keeps the Doctor away.”
This wise old medicine advise often rings true as Apples are chock-full of vitamins and antioxidants, and some medical research suggests that fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of cancer and heart disease. However, diet is not the only ingredient needed for cardiac health.
Exercise is the cornerstone of every heart-healthy lifestyle. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 mins a week of moderate exercise, which comes out to about 30 mins of exercise a day, 5 times a week.
In the United States, 1 in 3 deaths is from heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, according to AHA. Heart disease and stroke were the Top 2 killers worldwide.
According to AHA, some evidence suggests that too much sedentary time increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and death.
So staying active in little ways throughout the day can play an important role in improving overall health.
Fortunately, there are many ways to get the heart pumping and reduce the risk of heart disease, below are some of the Key ones, as follows:
Fitness Trackers/Apps: Buying a fitness tracker or app is a good place to start. The wide range of smart devices and apps available today have taken heart health to a new era, and technology has been one of the biggest areas of growth in the fitness industry.
Wearable devices provide a convenient aid to help people transform their habits and monitor progress. Users can set heart-smart goals, like 10,000 steps a day, which pushes them to increase daily activity levels. These devices can also provide accountability, increase motivation and help users train more effectively.
Fitness trackers typically measure the number of footsteps a person takes, distance traveled and specific type of movement (e.g. walk, run, etc.). More sophisticated devices also display a user’s heart rate, blood pressure and blood oxygen levels; track calories burned; and monitor sleep.
They are available in a number of forms including as wristbands, pendants and clip-ons.
Baby Steps: Starting slow, especially for those with a sedentary lifestyle, is often the best way to begin to make healthy changes. There are many programs and training plans available that can help individuals set realistic goals.
For example, Couch to 5K is a beginner’s running program that gets people off the couch and ready for a 5k over a nine-week period. Participants start by alternating running and walking, and as the weeks go by, they gradually build up to running 3 miles non-stop.
The Key is to set realistic goals, and then stick to the plan.
Everything counts: Building exercise into one’s lifestyle is important for consistency. An overzealous approach can lead to injuries that will thwart even the best of ambitions. More importantly, that approach begins with a tremendous amount of failure, which can also defeat the best of intentions.
There are a number of creative ways people can sneak physical activity into their daily routine when the idea of reserving 30 mins or more a day for exercise seems overwhelming. Do this: parking far from your destination and taking stairs instead of the elevator.
Breaking exercise into small segments throughout the day can also be effective. Ideas include jumping jacks and high knees during commercial breaks while watching TV or performing squats and lunges while waiting on the microwave or brushing your teeth. Another good habit is doing a few exercises before bed each night and after waking in the morning.
Mix it up: A common misconception is that running is the only way to lose weight and build a healthy heart. But medical professionals and the fitness community have been working to dispel this myth for years.
AHA’s weekly exercise recommendations include anything that gets the body to move and burn calories. This could be something as simple as climbing stairs or going for a walk.
The best way to maintain consistency and make exercise a habit is to choose an exercise you actually like doing. There are many creative options including trampoline parks, dance classes, swimming and sports.
Education and enjoyment often go hand-in-hand, so explore different exercise options and then trying to understand the benefits of the chosen exercise to improve awareness of why you are doing it.
Commitment to overall health: At the end of the day, just as an Apple a day is only one ingredient in a healthy lifestyle, fitness is not a magic solution to achieve perfect health. It is important to avoid smoking, overeating and other lifestyle choices that could undermine your efforts in the gym.
At some point, everyone gets off track, the important thing is to get moving again, guilt is the enemy of progress.
A common misconception is that running is the only way to lose weight and build a healthy heart that is not the case.
Hop the heart healthy wagon and move forward.
By Amanda Vicinanzo
Paul Ebeling, Editor