We’ve officially rounded the corner on February and National Heart Health month! But this month isn’t just about loving others- it’s about loving yourself too! Treat your heart with as much care as you would your loved ones’ by getting educated about heart health. Challenge yourself and commit to just a few lifestyle adjustments this month that can make a real difference in your lifelong heart health!
The number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease.
This means that it is the number one killer in America. Heart disease develops early in life and is a very serious condition that can affect anyone. Heart disease is a deadly condition, and the possible costs of living with it involve heart attacks, strokes, pain in the chest and limbs… the list goes on. The good news is that we don’t have to accept it as an inescapable fate! Now is the perfect time to start a self-care journey to prevent heart disease!
Small changes to live a heart healthy lifestyle:
For those of us with busy lives, taking time out of our day to exercise can often feel like a burden or a waste. But 30-60 minutes a day of exercise a day is not only beneficial for your mind and body, but necessary for preventing heart problems. Exercise significantly reduces your risk of developing heart disease not only by fighting other conditions that lead to it (such as high cholesterol and blood pressure), but also by controlling your weight. Whether this means taking a short jog at the sunset, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or even just walking to grab lunch on your break, there are simple ways to incorporate physical activity in our daily routines.
The healthiest meals for your heart are non-processed whole foods. To put it simply, these include fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The more of those good foods you consume, the better you are fueling your heart. But it’s also important to avoid foods with high sodium content, since they are known to cause high cholesterol. This can clog your arteries and decrease blood flow. A good trick for eating healthy is always being aware of exactly what you’re putting into your body. While picking items at grocery stores, take time to look at the list of ingredients. If the list seems a little too long or some ingredients sound more like names of compounds a scientist might say at a lab, odds are you should skip the over-processed junk and search for food that better serves your heart.
Getting enough sleep
Sleep deprivation doesn’t just affect your energy and mood. In addition to increasing your chances of developing depression, not getting enough sleep increases your risk of facing major heart complications, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attack and failure, stroke, and diabetes. It sounds like a lot, but listening to your body’s needs can help you avoid some of these conditions. Pay attention to how many hours you sleep as well as your body’s response when it’s time to wake up. If you notice that you’re having a hard time starting your day as opposed to feeling well rested and energized, try adding a few more hours of rest. Setting a sleep schedule is a great way to stay on track of your progress!
Healthy ways of coping with stress
Stress is another significant danger to your heart that can cause similar problems as an unhealthy diet and sleep deprivation can. Yet for those who attempt to lead balanced lifestyles or find themselves often preoccupied with responsibilities, stress is widely overlooked. This month, try to step back and allot some time in your schedule to check in with your personal wellness. Are you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted at the end of each day? Taking time to get lost in a good book, meditating, listening to music or walking along the beach are all excellent ways to relieve some stress and put you in a more relaxed state.
Make an appointment with your doctor
It’s important to frequently check in with a professional who can properly examine your body and inform you about your specific health needs. Even if you’re not sick or experiencing an urgent situation, going to doctor’s appointments is often a great preventative step that likely ensures you won’t be surprised by major problems down the road.
Our hearts are the engines that keep our bodies running and are tasked with the incredibly big job of vigilant and constant support. Let’s do our part this month and spread awareness about how we can support our hearts in return! So when your heart beats a little faster this Valentine’s Day, remind yourself just how far little adjustments can go for your heart. Working to actively take steps everyday for a healthy heart may be work, but it’s a labor of love.
Your dream job is waiting for you! If you’re on the job hunt and looking into travel nursing, per diem, allied, locum tenens or permanent placement, KPG Healthcare would love to help you find excellent career opportunities. Contact us today!