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Heart Health Tips for Beginners – Part 1

Heart Health Tips for Beginners - Are you at Risk?

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This series is all about heart health! A topic that’s near and dear to my own heart because heart disease runs in my family. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about it while I’m working towards my own health and fitness goals. I try to bring awareness to my clients, as well, because whether they know it or not when they make healthy choices each day, they’re doing their part in preventing this awful disease.

I watched my Grandmother, and then my Aunt, suffer from heart disease and I made a promise to myself to do what I could to break that cycle of poor heart health and change my family history. Now, I want to help you do the same!

Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US?

There are a number of major risk factors that you have absolutely no control over:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Heredity factors (including your race)

There are, however, some major risk factors that you CAN control, treat or modify:

  • High Cholesterol
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Physical Inactivity
    Obesity or overweight
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Nutrition or diet
  • Alcohol Consumption

Are you at risk for Heart Disease?

Are you at risk for heart disease?

Source: Visually.

While doing some research, I came across the following facts and figures that blew my mind.

Heart Risk factors for heart disease for U.S. adults:

33% have hypertension (or high blood pressure), 1
13.1% have total cholesterol >240 mg/dl, 2
9.3% of U.S. adults have diabetes, 3
68.5% of U.S. adults are overweight or obese, 4

This blew my mind because these are all things we have some control over. But unfortunately, it’s become more of a norm in our society to develop heart disease and/or die from it than to prevent it from developing in the first place.

So what can we do to improve our Heart Health?

The American Heart Association (AHA) has put together what they call Life’s Simple 7. This tool has you answer questions through 7 different categories and it calculates your “heart score”. Then it gives you some ideas that you can do to make simple lifestyle changes that will make a big difference when it comes to improving your heart health. Don’t feel like you have to do everything at once and get overwhelmed. Even if you start with just one step at a time, you will be doing your heart a favor!

In the rest of this series, I’m going to talk about a couple of the factors that we can control. I’ll go over some heart-healthy foods that you can introduce into your diet, foods to eliminate (or eat in moderation), and I’ll discuss some tips to get you started with moving your body. Even if you’ve never exercised and it’s been years since you’ve been active, there’s no reason why you can’t start small and work your way up!

To continue reading the rest of this 5-part series, you can find it linked below:
2) Part 2: Heart Healthy Diet Myths BUSTED
3) Part 3: Top 15 Heart-Healthy Foods
4) Part 4: What NOT to eat!
5) Part 5: Get up and Get Moving!

 

Resources:

1. Heart.org
2. Endocrine Society
3. American Diabetes Association
4. The Journal of American Medical Association
5. American Heart Association

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