Take Care of Your Heart - American Heart Month
February is American Heart Month, a time to raise awareness about heart disease and to encourage the community to take steps to reduce their risk. Here at Mesa Fitness, we believe in promoting both physical and emotional well-being, and that starts with taking care of our hearts.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States with 1 of every 5 deaths across the country. Coronary Artery Disease is the most common cause of heart-related deaths, with Heart Attacks being second. There are many risk factors that can lead to heart disease, including high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, obesity, unhealthy dieting, inactive lifestyle, and excessive alcohol use. While not all of these are preventable, many of them are. Here are the top six ways you can keep your heart (and you) healthy!
Regular physical activity can help lower your blood pressure, improve your cholesterol levels, and keep your weight in check, all of which can reduce your risk for heart disease. Make the most of your membership by working out at least three times a week.
ELIMINATE SMOKING & TOBACCO USE
Smoking increases your blood pressure, damages your blood vessels, and contributes to the buildup of plaque in your arteries. Quitting smoking can significantly reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke while also improving your overall heart health. Additionally, exposure to secondhand smoke also increases your risk for heart disease, so by quitting, you'll not only help your heart but also the hearts of those around you.
EATING A HEALTHY DIET
A diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can help reduce your risk for heart disease. Try to limit foods that are high in saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and salt. Many processed foods will be full of these unhealthy fats or salt (aka sodium).
MANAGE YOUR STRESS
Stress can come from any part of our life, including finances, home life, family, or work. Chronic stress can contribute to heart disease. Try out different ways to manage your stress to discover what works best for you! Here are 10 different ways you can try:
Exercise regularly: Physical activity can help reduce stress by releasing endorphins, which are natural mood boosters.
Practice mindfulness: Focus on the present moment through meditation, deep breathing, or yoga.
Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep can increase stress levels, so make sure you're getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.
Connect with others: Spend time with friends and family, or participate in activities that bring you joy and a sense of community.
Take breaks: Take breaks throughout the day to step away from work and recharge.
Laugh: Laughter has been shown to relieve stress, so make time for activities and experiences that bring a smile to your face.
Practice self-care: Take time for yourself, whether that means getting a massage, reading a book, or taking a relaxing bath.
Manage your time: Make to-do lists and prioritize tasks to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms: Avoid relying on alcohol, drugs, or junk food to relieve stress, as these can be harmful to both your physical and mental health.
Keep things in perspective: Try to view stressors objectively, and remember that challenges are temporary and that you have the ability to overcome them.
GET REGULAR CHECK-UPS
Regular doctor visits and check-ups are crucial for maintaining good health and preventing serious health problems. During these visits, your doctor can monitor your health and check for any potential problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or early signs of serious illnesses. They can also provide preventive screenings, such as mammograms or colon cancer screenings, all of which help detect potential health issues early on, when they are easier to treat.
These checkups are also a great time for your doctor to provide advice on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including recommendations for a healthy diet, exercise, and stress management techniques. Regular doctor visits are also an opportunity to discuss any health concerns you may have and to receive personalized advice and treatment options.
Be proactive with your health and well-being.
When it comes to the gym, many folks think about sleep being the catalyst behind muscle growth. While sleep is a great time to help your body recover from a tough workout, it's important for overall health, including heart health.
During sleep, your body works to repair and restore itself, including your heart and blood vessels. Inadequate sleep has been linked to several heart health risks, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. A lack of sleep can also lead to unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as overeating and lack of physical activity, which can further contribute to heart health problems.
Getting a good night's rest can help reduce stress, regulate hormones, and promotes healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Aiming for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night can help you maintain a healthy heart and reduce your risk for heart disease.
Help Mesa Fitness spread the word about American Heart Month and help your loved ones stay heart-healthy in 2023!
Heart Disease Facts | cdc.gov. (2022, October 14). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm
Strategies to prevent heart disease. (2022, January 14). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-disease-prevention/art-20046502
Heart Disease Communications Kit | cdc.gov. (2023, January 27). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/communications_kit.htm