Getting serious about your health is something everyone should do. Specifically, your cardiovascular health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Roughly 647,000 people die from it every single year.
That’s about one death every 37 seconds!
Those statistics are truly frightening, but they don’t have to be. There are things everyone can do to improve their heart health to lead a long and happy life. At first, it might seem like hard work, but it gets easier if you just keep at it. Another great thing is that it doesn’t take a lot of time.
So, you won’t have to worry about disrupting your work or interrupting that important criminal justice or master’s in business analytics online classes you’ve been taking. You just have to commit to improving your life and you’ll be on your way.
1. Get Moving
You already know the first thing you’re going to want to start doing is to get moving. According to the American Heart Association, adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week. If you prefer tougher workouts, aim for 75 minutes of vigorous activity. Don’t try to shove in all of the exercise in one day. Instead, you are going to want to spread it out over the week.
Here are some examples. Aim for 25 minutes of these types of exercises six days a week:
- Walking briskly
- Riding a bike
- Jumping rope
If you want to shorten the time you have to put in work, you can do high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This is when you alternate between high intensity and low-intensity intervals. These exercises will help you lose weight and build muscle, improving your heart health.
2. Eat This, Not That
If you are on a journey to get fit, the toughest part might be the change to your diet and knowing what you are eating. A heart-healthy diet is low in sodium and saturated fat.
According to the Mayo Clinic, you can help reduce your risk of heart disease by controlling your portion size and not eating until you feel stuffed. Make sure you are eating enough fruits and vegetables. You want to incorporate them into all of your meals and your snacks. Consider adding a vegetarian meal or two.
Make sure you are eating lean meats and whole grains and try to plan ahead. You can eat a snack every once in a while, it’s not going to hurt you. Just remember: everything in moderation.
3. Reduce Your Stress
Stress is a silent killer. Just like not exercising or eating right, chronic stress can lead to heart problems, strokes, poor sleep and cognitive issues.
If you have anxiety, speak to your doctor. They can help you with that. You might also want to try meditation and getting a good night of sleep.
4. Visit Your Dentist
Poor dental health can increase your risk of cardiac issues. If you get an infection in your gums, it can enter your bloodstream and impact your heart valves.
To reduce your chances of developing a more serious problem, be sure to see your dentist every six months, brush your teeth regularly and floss.
5. Monitor Your Blood Pressure
Check your blood pressure periodically and make sure it’s in a normal range. A reading of less than 120/80 is considered healthy. If you notice it is higher than that for multiple readings, contact your doctor and let them know. You may need medication to regulate it.
Get That Heart Healthy
All of these steps are pretty easy, and they will help you live a long and healthy life. It’s never too late to make the lifestyle changes you need to make that happen.