How to live a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle
February is American Heart Month and a great reason to highlight the importance of living a heart-healthy lifestyle. After all, cardiovascular health should be important at every age.
We see hearts everywhere in February, but we sometimes tend to focus on Valentine’s Day more than American Heart Month. Spread the word about how to prevent heart disease and live a heart-healthy life with those you love and care for.
What are five ways to control your heart health?
1. Manage stress.
Stress can increase your risk for heart disease and even speed up its progression. People who are constantly angry or stressed have higher rises in blood pressure than people who aren't. This chronic unrest causes inflammation that can lead to heart damage, stroke, and heart attacks. Be aware of stress and find ways to control it. Read more about the effects of chronic stress on the National Library of Medicine website.
2. Get moving.
It is suggested to incorporate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week. Daily exercise is one of the best ways to strengthen a weakened heart. To learn exercises that boost heart health, head over to Hopkins Medicine here.
3. Get good quality sleep.
Good sleep is critical to good health. How much sleep do you need? Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep each night. Lack of sleep can lead to health problems, including heart attack, asthma, and depression. Sleep apnea causes an interruption in your sleep, causing you to stop breathing for short amounts of time. Talk to your doctor if you think you may be suffering from sleep apnea. Typically a sleep test will be done to determine the severity of the sleep apnea.
4. Get regular health screenings.
According to Heart.org these are the recommended heart health screenings.
5. Improve your cholesterol levels.
If you replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats, it has been linked to lower levels of total cholesterol and LDL ("bad") cholesterol and a lower risk for cardiovascular disease. Also remove trans fats from your diet. Trans fats are found in processed foods, such as margarine, snack foods, and pre-packaged desserts. Opt for lean cuts of meat and low-fat dairy, and use oils instead of solid fats.
Don't skip on those annual visits and labs. Staying ahead of disease is the key to a healthier and longer life. That's why Impact includes wellness as a part of membership. See more details here.