5 Tips for Heart Healthy Living
Did you know that in Canada, every 7 minutes, some one dies from a heart attack or stroke? In the US, some one dies from cardiovascular disease each minute.
You probably don’t think about preventing heart disease because you are, like most of us, busy taking caring of everyone else. Taking care of yourself is often a last though, if you even think of it at all.
But it’s too important to ignore.
There are some things we can change, and some things we can’t. Genetics, aging, and the increased risk in women are sadly things we can’t change.
But there’s a lot you can do to prevent heart disease.
Here is my prescription for heart healthy living.
1. If you smoke, stop. Now. After quitting for one year, the risk of dying from heart disease is reduced by half and in 15 years, your risk of dying will be as though you never smoked. Make sure your children understand the hazards of smoking.
2. Limit your alcohol intake. Women, no more than one alcoholic beverage in a 24-hour period. And, no, you cannot save up Monday through Thursday for Friday night. (Men, your limit is two drinks in a 24 hour period.)
3. Get your heart rate up. Put it on your schedule, make an appointment, to be physically active for the purpose of getting your heart rate up and improving your cardiovascular fitness. Aim for 30 minutes a day, as many days of the week as you can. You don’t have to go out and train for the Toronto Marathon, just break a sweat. Make it something you enjoy and recruit your friends.
4. Make healthy eating choices. Think about your nutritional intake as something similar to your household budget. You cannot have more money going out than you have coming in (you can – but not for long!) and if you want to save, you need to put some aside. You cannot eat more calories than you are burning and if you want to loose weight, you have to reduce the calories. There are several great tools for “budgeting” your calories: try this site, or this one.
5. Know your ABCs. When you visit your doctor, ask about ABCs. Aspirin if you are at risk, Blood pressure check, Cholesterol check, and help to Stop smoking.
You work hard. You have many demands in your life. And you deserve to take care of yourself.