World Heart Day: Beating Heart Disease One Step at a Time
Heart Disease is one of the biggest killers around the world. To bring awareness to the issue, the World Heart Organization created World Heart Day. September 29th is a day to make a promise to put your heart health first.
With that in mind, there are many small habits you can change to steer clear of heart disease. Make a promise this weekend to change one small habit, and you’ll be one step closer to beating heart disease.
What Small Habit can I Commit to Changing?
We’re glad you asked. There are so many ways you can improve your heart health, and some are the tiniest of changes to your normal routine.
Be active every day. Engage in at least two and a half hours of physical activity every week. Join an exercise class, walk with a friend, learn a new dance, or play sports with your kids. Can’t find time to incorporate exercise in your daily routine? Try these:
- If you have a short commute, bike to work! If you normally sit in stand still traffic, it might actually take you the same time to get to the office. And, not only will you be getting exercise, you’ll also be avoiding the frustration of sitting in traffic.
- Instead of sitting down for your entire lunch, take half that time to walk around outside. Not only is walking one of the best ways to improve heart health, but you’ll also be outside enjoying the sun! And it can reset your body to feel more energized, avoiding the afternoon slump.
Neither of these things will take up any extra time in your already busy day, and you’ll be healthier for it.
Keep an eye on your weight. A healthy weight for your body will prolong a healthy heart and healthy lifestyle. Remember that everyone is different, so a healthy weight for you is different than a healthy weight for your sister, brother, friend, or partner.
Change your eating habits. Even small changes are good and can lead to better choices.
- Normally have a burger with fries for lunch? Get your burger lettuce wrapped, and swap the fries for sweet potato fries. Those little changes increase your vegetable intake and sweet potatoes are better for you than your regular white potato fries.
- Eat more fiber. Fiber has many benefits, so try to eat at least 30 grams per day. Not only is it linked to lowering your blood pressure, but it can make you feel more full, which helps with losing weight.
- Limit your saturated fat intake, especially trans-fat. It increases the amount of bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in your bloodstream. It also decreases the good cholesterol (HDL) levels. Typical foods with trans fats include cakes, cookies, donuts, biscuits, coffee creamer, and fried and battered foods.
Stop smoking, not just a little but totally. This is one habit we can’t suggest a small change for a large benefit. Smoking affects your whole body, making your heart work harder than it should. Join a support group or ask your doctor about treatments that can help you quit.
Reduce Stress. We’re not kidding around when we say stress can be a big trigger for heart disease. Try the following to reduce the amount of stress in your life:
- Laugh more. Laughing increases your blood flow by 20% at least, which is a good thing for your heart.
- Try Yoga. It has been shown to effectively reduce stress.
Monitor your blood pressure at home. High Blood Pressure is the first step toward a life of heart disease issues. Having a monitor at home is the easiest way to stay on top of your blood pressure, especially if your blood pressure is reaching worrying levels.