February is Heart Month because the month of love is also the perfect time to focus on loving your own heart by taking steps to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. In America, someone dies from heart disease every 37 seconds. That’s approximately 647,000 people each year. Those numbers alone should make anyone stop and take interest in the state of their heart health.
The good news about cardiovascular disease is that many cases are preventable through making the right lifestyle choices and visiting your medical provider regularly for primary care checkups. Take a look at these lifestyle changes you can make in your life starting today for better heart health tomorrow.
Stop Being a Couch Potato
We love the occasional Netflix binge as much as the next person but our bodies are designed to move and there’s a reason why many experts say “sitting is the new smoking.” A sedentary lifestyle is the quickest way to heart disease, stroke, and a plethora of other serious and deadly health issues. If you work a sedentary job, find a way to stand up for 20 minutes per hour, moving for at least 8 of those minutes. And don’t forget to practice at least 2 ½ to 3 hours of exercise or physical activity per week in addition to making a point to move consistently throughout the day.
Stop Using Tobacco
There’s a reason for the Surgeon General’s warning on every pack of cigarettes. The dangers of smoking are numerous and heart disease is just one of many issues that develop from the habit. Your medical provider can help you quit, schedule an appointment today to learn how.
Eat Your Fruits and Veggies
A diet heavy in colorful fruits and veggies is the key to eating your way to a healthier heart. Reducing your meat intake while increasing the servings of fruits and veggies on your plate is the best way to lower bad cholesterol, high blood pressure, and reduce plaque that blocks arteries and causes heart attacks.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
You can do this easily by following the first few tips. Be warned: obesity isn’t the only way your weight affects your heart. Any extreme weight issues, including anorexia and bulimia, can cause stress on your heart.
Manage High Blood Pressure and Bad Cholesterol
Again, changing your diet and exercise habits are the best steps to reducing high blood pressure and high bad cholesterol. A vegan diet and the D.A.S.H diet are among the best heart-healthy diets that address these issues.
Exercise, a healthy diet, and stress-reducers like meditative breathing and yoga are easy lifestyle choices to manage the constant stress of daily life.
Schedule Regular Physical Exams
Your annual primary care physical exam and checkup is your opportunity with your medical provider to glimpse a clear view of your overall health, including underlying medical issues that can increase your risk of heart issues, such as high blood pressure, high bad cholesterol, and diabetes. It’s also the time to discuss your current lifestyle habits and what changes you should make to improve your health.
Get serious about your heart health today. Start by visiting Medplus for a physical exam appointment. Book your appointment online now by clicking the book now link in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.