A healthy heart is key to overall health. Unlike many of the organs in the human body, once the heart is damaged, that damage cannot be reversed. Even in a time when advancing medical technology allows transplants, stints, and pacemakers to remedy poor heart health, these hospital visits are avoidable.
Heart Health is increased by adopting a healthy diet, maintaining a positive attitude, and exercise. These simple lifestyle changes have been shown to stop the progression of heart disease. The national heart health month of February challenges us to look at our lives and change a few of our habits, to ensure better lives and healthier cardiovascular systems.
This is a powerful place to start your heart health reform. New statistics state that over 1.4 million Canadian have heart disease, and diet is key risk factor. High amounts of trans-fat, sodium, and saturated fats contribute to plaque build-up and tissue damage from reduced blood flow to the heart. Healthy heart foods include good amounts of omega 3's and 6's with low amounts of bad fats. Salmon, flaxseed, walnuts, and blueberries are example of foods with strong anti-oxidants and lean oils that will help heart function and reduce the odds of heart disease. In addition, cut down on fried foods and consider baking and steaming your meals.
Getting active can be a challenge in modern times, where people are living high stress, sedentary lifestyles. In between work, school, and parenthood it seems exercise just isn't a priority. As of 2015, statistics state that 55.3% of Canadians exercise. These numbers are up from 2011 statistics. Low intensity exercise like yoga is a good place to start, and running and light stretches are easy and cost-effective ways to get active for short periods of time during the day. Short exercises combined over longer periods of time can reduce fat and improve overall heart health.
Smoking, excessive alcohol use, and drug abuse are significant obstacles to heart health and weight management. As of 2012, 44% of Canadians smoke, an alarming statistic, considering the effects of second-hand smoke on the remaining 56% of Canadians. Smoking has been linked to higher cancer rates and incidences of heart disease. Studies consistently show that excessive alcohol use and drug abuse create a strain on the liver, which in turn, creates a strain on the heart. While alcohol can be taken responsibly, there is no room for illegal drugs in a healthy heart regimen.
So remember, these are only a few of the guidelines that you can set for yourself. Set a pace, and don't strain yourself. New exercise routines can be hard on hearts that aren't used to the pressure, so talk to your doctor about your new plan. Work on a weekly goal, and stick with it and replace old junk foods with newer healthier ones. It's all about changing your habits, and February is the time to start!
Questions, comments, or concerns? Please feel free to contact us here for support on your journey to better health.
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