My man… Sitting on the couch, enjoying that pastrami on rye and lovin’ the pork rinds with a big ol’ glass of diet soda. You watching the game? What’s the score? I’ll tell you what the score is! One out of every four Americans will die from heart disease this year. And the next. And the year after that… costing the US about $200 billion each year. It’s important to know the risk factors like – smoking, high cholesterol, physical inactivity, obesity, diabetes and stress just to name a few. Now that you know the risks, do something about them. It’s time to even the score with heart disease, and we’ve got five simple steps to help get you started.
Step One: Get Enough Sleep
Simply put, sleep helps your body repair itself. Studies have shown that getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night is paramount for optimal heart health. … and good quality sleep is a bonus. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, your heart’s not getting the refresh it needs. And neither are you.
Step Two: Watch Your Diet
Consider cutting back on salt. Limit your alcohol consumption to no more than one to two drinks a day (if at all!). Try eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein in reasonable sized portions. Cut down on saturated fats, which are mainly found in meat and full-fat dairy products, and totally quit trans fats, which are found in processed foods — they drive up your “bad” cholesterol level.
Step Three: Find Out if You Have Diabetes
Millions of people don’t know that they have this condition. That’s risky because over time, high blood sugar damages arteries and makes heart disease more likely. If you have borderline high blood sugar, also called prediabetes, take action now to turn things around.
Step Four: Move!
Aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day, 5 days a week. That includes any activity that gets you moving around and breaking a sweat – even a slight sweat. Walk or run, lift weights, ride your bike, join a gym… whatever! But don’t just stop there. Pay attention to how much time you spend seated, whether it’s at work, in your car or on your couch at home. You want to cut that time down. Even if you exercise for 30 minutes a day, being sedentary for the other 23 1/2 hours is really bad for your heart.
Step Five: Stop Smoking!
If you do nothing else, stop smoking. The nicotine in cigarette smoke reduces how much oxygen your heart gets. It raises your blood pressure. It speeds up your heart rate. It makes blood clots more likely which can lead to a heart attack or stroke and it harms the inside of your blood vessels, including those in your heart. After 1 to 2 years of not smoking, you’ll be much less likely to develop heart disease.
Thanks for watching. Maybe you already have heart disease… maybe you don’t. It doesn’t matter. Aside from hereditary factors, heart disease is largely a lifestyle disease. Take the steps outlined above and get in the game for better heart health. Don’t forget to smash that like button and share for all who want better heart health. Until next time, this is Mr. Wellness reminding you to follow the steps to a healthier you.