SIX EASY WAYS TO TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR HEART HEALTH
According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is responsible for 1 death every 38 seconds and claims more lives each year than all forms of cancer and Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease combined. On average, 92.1 million American adults are living with some form of cardiovascular disease or the after-effects of stroke. High blood pressure is most prevalent in minority communities and is often referred to as “The Silent Killer” because there are typically no warning signs or symptoms.
February is American Heart Month, and as a leading community-based organization dedicated to improving the nation’s health, the Y offers the following tips to help families in our community be heart healthy!
- Get Physical
Being physically active every day is fun and can improve the function of your heart. Plan and schedule opportunities for active play; for example, include a brisk 10-minute trip around the block after meals or a 10-minute walking break during the day. If your family enjoys active video games, select versions that require moving the body’s large muscle groups while playing.
- Get some ZZZZZ’s
Lack of sleep can be associated with elevated cholesterol and blood pressure. Adults need at least seven, but no more than nine hours of sleep at night to aid with the prevention of heart disease. Children need 10-12 hours of sleep per night. Develop bedtime routines for the whole family to assist with falling asleep faster and staying asleep.
- Be Aware of your Blood Pressure
Per the American Heart Association lowering or maintaining normal blood pressure can greatly reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. Nearly 1 in 3 adults (about 80 million people) has high blood pressure and more than half of them don’t have it under control. Start self-monitoring your blood pressure
- Have Support
Spending time with family or friends is a great way to reduce stress, which is important to heart health. Catch up with friends by having a walk in the park or round up the family for a weekend bike ride through the neighborhood. Having a support team is a great way to stay accountable for your heart health!
- Adjust your Taste Buds
To reduce the amount of sodium in your diet, cut back on salt little by little—and pay attention to the natural tastes of various foods. Your taste for salt will lessen over time. Additionally, keep salt off the kitchen counter and the dinner table and substitute spices, herbs, garlic, vinegar or lemon juice to season foods.
- Boost your Potassium Intake
Choose foods with potassium, which may help to lower your blood pressure. Potassium is found in vegetables and fruits, such as potatoes, beet greens, tomato juice and sauce, sweet potatoes, beans (white, lima, kidney), and bananas. Other sources of potassium include yogurt, clams, halibut, natural orange juice and milk.