Scary (but true) fact: heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States*. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to prevent it from developing. Here are the top recommendations from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion to keep your heart happy, healthy and beating strong!:
MOVE YOUR BODY.
The average adult needs at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week*. Activities can include running, walking at a brisk pace, swimming, biking and more. For those who are new to exercise, start slow by making a conscious effort to exercise for at least 10 minutes each day. Once you build up stamina, you’ll be able to take on something more challenging!
EAT HEALTHY, NUTRITIOUS MEALS.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but diet has a lot to do with heart health. Controlling cholesterol and blood pressure by eating foods low in sodium and fat can help relieve stress on your heart. A good rule of thumb is to avoid processed foods (think: frozen, pre-packaged meals, boxed mixes, etc.). Instead, opt for dark leafy greens, fresh veggies, whole grains, fruits, legumes and lean proteins. This will also help you maintain a healthy weight, thus further reducing your risk for heart disease.
LIMIT YOUR ALCOHOL INTAKE.
A glass of wine or beer here and there are fine, but make sure you don’t overdo it. Like any guilty pleasure, alcohol should be consumed in moderation* if consumed at all. And while we’re on the subject of things to avoid, steering clear of secondhand smoke is just as important*. If you smoke, quit; after all, it’s called a bad habit for a reason.
Stress is a pesky little beast, but taking time to manage it can help stave off far more serious health complications like heart disease, depression and high blood pressure*. Yoga, meditation, deep breathing and generally taking time to do any calming activity you enjoy are all great ways to reduce and manage stress.
*Cited from healthfinder.gov