Did you know that February is designated as American Heart Month? During this month, you’re encouraged to learn more about heart disease, spread awareness and care for your own heart. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women, but there are many lifestyle changes you can make to stay healthy. Keep reading for a list of tips from the National Institute of Health to encourage heart-heathy living.
8 Tips for Heart Healthy Living During American Heart Month
- Understand Your Risks – While heart disease is largely preventable, there are some risk factors to consider that could make you more susceptible to developing this disease. Some of these risk factors include:
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- Being overweight
- Having prediabetes or diabetes
- Low physical activity
- A family history of early heart disease or preeclampsia
- Improper diet
- Older age (55+ for women and 45+ for men)
If you have one or more of these risk factors, you are at a higher overall risk of developing heart disease. Start the conversation with your doctor to learn how you can modify and improve your lifestyle to decrease the risk.
- Get Your Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Checked – Two of the most common risk factors for heart disease is high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Try to have your blood pressure checked at least once a year by a healthcare professional, and more often if you already have high blood pressure. For cholesterol testing, your doctor will require a blood sample to check your cholesterol levels and determine if they are at a healthy number.
- Choose Heart-Healthy Foods – Your diet impacts a large portion of your overall wellbeing, incuding your heart health. Heart-healthy eating involves a focus on fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low-fat milk and whole grains. You may even consider the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating pan after a conversation with your docto, as it is proven to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol.When it comes to limiting foods for a heart healthy lifestyle, you’re encouraged to decrease the amount of sodium, saturated and trans fats, added sugars and alcohol.
- Aim for a Healthy Weight – A healthy weight can help take pressure off your heart and promote a more active lifestyle. An important metric to consider when reviewing your weight is the Body Mass Index, or BMI. Each and every person’s BMI goal is different, so talk to your healthcare provider about the ideal BMI for you.
- Manage Stress – Too much stress can put pressure on your body, resulting in high blood pressure. Research also suggests that an emotionally stressful event can even trigger a heart attack or angina for some people. By learning how to manage the stress in your life, you’ll positively influence both your mental and physical health. Stress management can be talking to a counselor, trying relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga practice or physical fitness – whatever works best for you.
- Get Regular Physical Activity – Regular physical activity is vital to your wellbeing. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that each week, adults get at least:
- 2 hours and 30 minutes to 5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity
- 1 hour and 15 minutes to 2 hours and 30 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity
- A combination of both moderate-intensity and vigorous-intensity activity
A great way to make physical activity a daily habit is by living an active lifestyle. Staying active doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go to the gym every day to run and lift weights. An active lifestyle simply means doing whatever gets you up and moving. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator or riding your bike to run an errand are both examples of active lifestyle activities.
- Quit Smoking – Smoking is a major risk factor for ischemic heart disease. This form of heart disease is when plaque builds up in your arteries, making it difficult for blood to enter your heart. If you’re looking to quit smoking, you can start by calling 1–800–QUIT–NOW or visiting smokefree.gov.
- Get Enough Good-Quality Sleep – Quality sleep plays a significant role in your overall wellbeing and physical health throughout your life. Not only is your body able to rest during this time, but you’re also supporting your brain function and maintaining your physical health. It’s recommended that all adults aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
Discover a Healthy Lifestyle at Ventana by Buckner
Ventana offers a healthy senior living lifestyle. Services and amenities offered include wellness programs for Members to enjoy, including fitness classes in our state-of-the-art fitness center. There’s always something to do within our community and your neighbors will quickly become good friends. And with comfortable, spacious apartments, you’ll find it easy to call Ventana your new home where you can thrive and maintain your active, independent lifestyle. If you’re interested in discovering why so many people view Ventana as the perfect choice for them and their loved ones, you can click on this link to schedule your personal tour of our community. If you’d like to schedule an information session, apply for residence or simply ask our team some questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch! We’re always available to assist in researching and evaluating your options.