Updated: Feb 8, 2019
Six simple steps to improve your heart health
Did you know heart disease is the #1 killer of women in the U.S.? We hear so much about breast cancer, yet approximately 1 in 4 women will die of heart disease each year.
Heart disease was once something only "old" people suffered from, but today's poor diet and sedentary lifestyle are contributing to the development of heart disease at an earlier age than in the past.
Though genetics may play a small role, lifestyle choices have an enormous impact on your risk of developing heart disease. Key factors that increase your risk of developing the disease include:
High blood pressure
Poor eating habits
Developing a pattern of healthy eating and regular exercise can go a long way in reducing your risk for heart disease. This pattern will also reduce your risk of, and/or manage, type II diabetes, elevated cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
While most people understand they "should" be eating better and exercising regularly, these things remain on the list of "shoulds" rather than "musts". Establishing healthy habits must be a priority if good health is important to you. Changing your routine and behavior patterns is difficult, but it can be done.
Try these six simple tips to get started:
Take action - thinking and talking about living healthier does nothing to improve your health; in fact, it may be causing you a bit of unhealthy stress. Instead of talking and thinking, start DOING! How?
Start Small - making big changes to your daily life can be overwhelming, increasing your chances of just giving up. Rather than trying to revamp your diet overnight, focus on one small change. Try oatmeal and fruit for breakfast rather than a doughnut. Snack on almonds and low-fat string cheese in the afternoon instead of grabbing whatever is available in the vending machine. Small steps lead to big results.
Make it Happen - if you have decided to add 15 minutes of walking to your day, then do it. Don't let the weather, your job, or your busy schedule get in the way. Just do it. No matter what you put aside for those 15 minutes, whether it's your work or your internet-surfing time, it will be there when your 15 minutes are completed. You will have lost nothing, but will have gained a small victory toward better health. If the weather is bad, march in place for 15 minutes. I know, that's not much fun. But, neither is a heart attack. You choose.
Learn More - maybe you have heard that saturated fat can contribute to
an increased risk of heart disease. . but do you really know what foods contain saturated fat? How about carbs? I so often hear people say they are giving up carbs, yet don't really understand that vegetables contain carbs. One of the most important changes you can make to your diet is to limit processed foods, but many people are confused as to what exactly is a "processed" food.
Celebrate small victories - Did you pass up the doughnuts at work this morning? Great job! Now remind yourself and give yourself a pat on the back. You are now a healthier, better you! That wasn't so hard was it? Keep stringing a long those small victories and be proud of yourself each step of the way. It isn't easy, but you are doing it! Imagine how much you can accomplish if you just keep going!
Stay on track - yes, we all get distracted and life brings situations that moves us away from our plans and schedule. Life happens. But don't let these temporary situations become a permanent reason to throw in the towel. Do what you can while you are dealing with those unexpected situations and then get back to your routine when life settles down. If a co-worker quits and you have to work longer hours for a while, take a walk at lunch, bring healthy snacks with you to work to avoid the fast-food stop, etc. A little bit of progress is better than nothing at all; and certainly better than giving up.
Life is short and we all get one chance to make it as good as we can. Take care of yourself so you can continue to enjoy all of the things you have worked so hard for, all of the things you hope to experience, and all of the great things the future may present.
Cinergy Dynamics - For the Health of It!
Thanks for reading! I had to include this photo because Mother Nature is hitting us hard here in the Midwest. Snow, below zero temperatures, and ice storms have filled my days for the past few weeks. I needed a little reminder of summer!
I love to hear your ideas and suggestions. Please leave your comment below. For more information, visit my website www.cinergydynamics.com or follow me on social media @cinergydynamics.