Incorporating Heart Healthy Habits in Life

Incorporating Heart Healthy Habits in Life

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease remains the No. 1 killer worldwide, with 17.3 million deaths each year. That number is projected to rise to over 23.6 million by 2030.

The Heart Foundation estimates that cardiovascular disease kills more than all cancers combined and that coronary artery disease is the most common form of heart disease, killing nearly 380,000 people annually.

Many of us are aware of these facts about heart disease, yet we do so little for the health of our tickers, who grudgingly continue to work for us despite our neglect. Taking care of our tickers requires attention to many aspects of our lives. By adopting the following heart-healthy habits, we can add years to life and ease the financial burden.

Heart Healthy Habits:

Do sports regularly – Our heart is a muscle that needs regular exercise to stay strong and healthy. Although lots of exercise is better than no exercise at all, we need to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity (e.g., brisk walking) or 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous aerobic physical activity (e.g., jogging) each week , running) or a combination of both every week.

In addition, we need muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abs, chest, shoulders, and arms) 2 or more days a week.

Eating healthy – We must choose foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fat and sodium. In addition, we need to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains high in fiber, fish (preferably oily fish at least twice a week), nuts, legumes and seeds, and try to eat some meals without meat. You should also limit sugar-sweetened drinks and red meat. When eating meat, choose the leanest cuts possible.

Stop smoking – Smoking is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and causes one in three deaths from CVD. The risk of CVD increases with the number of cigarettes smoked per day and the number of years they have been smoked. Smoking cigarettes with lower tar or nicotine content does not reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Avoid passive smoking – People are more likely to develop heart disease when exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work. According to the American Heart Association, tobacco smoke contributes to approximately 34,000 premature deaths from heart disease and 7,300 deaths from lung cancer each year. This is because the chemicals given off by cigarette smoke encourage the formation of plaque in the arteries.

practice dental hygiene – It has been found that bacteria in the mouth involved in causing gum disease can enter the bloodstream and cause elevations in C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation in blood vessels. These changes, in turn, can increase our risk of heart disease and stroke.

Get enough sleep every day – A 2011 review of 15 medical studies involving nearly 475,000 people by the European Heart Journal found that slack sleepers had a 48% increased risk of developing or dying from coronary artery disease (CAD) over a follow-up period of seven to 25 years. Interestingly, late sleepers—those who sleep an average of nine hours or more a night—also showed a 38% increased risk of developing or dying from CHD. Lack of sleep doesn’t necessarily cause heart disease, but it does increase risk factors for heart disease.

Simple habit changing tips:

Replacing unhealthy habits with healthy ones rewards us with good health and a better quality of life. Still, many find it difficult to incorporate healthy habits into their lives because sooner or later they return to an unhealthy lifestyle and thereby lose all the positive effects they had. Like any other health habit, heart-healthy habits must be followed throughout life.

The following tips will help us incorporate heart-healthy habits into our lives:

• One must make a decision and make a conscious effort to live up to the commitment.
• You have to discover triggers and obstacles to overcome, otherwise you risk failure.
• One should make a plan and review it from time to time.
• One should use visualizations and affirmations related to habits to be changed because they program the subconscious with the right mindset to establish a new habit.
• By enlisting the support of family and friends, we can resist temptation that might thwart our efforts.
• Find ways to reward yourself because it makes you feel good, even if it’s only temporary. They will help us stay motivated to stay on track.

The bottom line:

Our awareness of heart disease as the number one killer worldwide has increased. Yet many still lack the proper knowledge of the heart-healthy habits that need to be considered to keep our tickers strong. In addition, while many strive to accept them, they do not hold on to them and therefore cannot benefit from them.

Thanks to Dr. Pran Rangan


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