February is all about the heart – Valentine’s day as well as National Heart Health Awareness Month. Since February, 2003, millions of women and men have worn red to raise awareness about the risk of heart disease, which still remains the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. Heart disease takes more women’s lives each year than ALL cancers combined.
The good news is, it can be helped…here are 10 tips for loving your heart and keeping it healthy:
- Evaluate your risk factors. Some risk factors, such as smoking and being overweight, are easy to figure out, however, others can be harder to spot. For example, you may have high blood pressure even if you look and feel fine.
- See your doctor regularly if you have one or more risk factors for heart disease.
- Manage your blood sugar. Your body performs best when your blood sugar is kept relatively constant. By eating small meals and snacking regularly, you can avoid drops in your blood sugar, which can cause lethargy and increased hunger. Also, minimize foods that are high in sugar, which causes your blood sugar to spike. Now they are not suggesting to eliminate all sugar but just be aware of how often and your personal risk factors.
- Exercise. Get your heart pumping for 30 minutes or longer at least five times a week.
- Reduce belly fat. If your waist circumference is 35 inches or more for women, and 40” or more for men, your risk of heart disease is more than doubled. Research shows that belly fat accumulates around organs such as the liver and is the most dangerous kind of fat for your heart. Regular exercise and soluble fiber help trim excess belly fat and keep the heart pumping and working as it should.
- Eat soluble fibers. Aim for 10 grams a day: foods such as unpeeled apples and pears, almonds, oatmeal, peas, and raspberries. If you have trouble getting enough fiber in a day, supplements like Benefiber can be added once or twice a day into your water.
- Reduce stress by indulging in laughter, time with friends, yoga, movies, games, or other calming, rejuvenating activities.
- Drink water. Eight glasses a day, every day.
- Avoid smoking. Smoking increases the risk of heart disease not only for smokers but for nonsmokers who are exposed to second-hand smoke as well.
- Treat depression. Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from depression. Don’t forget to take care of yourself!
If you or your loved ones need help in achieving a healthy heart lifestyle, we can help. One of our certified personal trainers and/or fitness nutritionist would be glad to set up a program to meet your health and nutritional needs. We offer a free consultation and introductory workout and if you are looking for something special for that Valentine that will last year round, we also have gift certificates available. Contact us at 770-330-2126 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutritionist, Exercise Therapy Specialist
Bodyrich Fitness Company