American Heart Month

Give love to your heart: How to improve heart health with some lifestyle changes

by Sports Therapy And Rehabilitation, February 14, 2017

This February is American Hearth Month. The purpose of the month-long campaign is to spread awareness about the dangers of heart disease and encourage behaviors that will improve your heart health.

Although there have been significant advances in recent years, heart disease is still the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S. Every year 715,000 people have a heart attack, while another 600,000 die from heart disease. This equates to 25% of all deaths in the country.

But here’s another more reassuring number: 80% of heart attacks and strokes are preventable, regardless of your family history. In order to take charge of your own heart health, you’ll need to become more conscious of your decisions and make some important lifestyle changes in your diet and exercise habits. It may require some additional effort on your part, but these benefits will more than pay off in the long term.

Here are some of the most effective steps you can take to improve your heart health and reduce your chance of heart disease:

  • Eat a healthy diet: this is of chief importance for a healthy heart; specifically:
    • Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables daily
    • Consume fiber and whole grains on a regular basis
    • Eat fish, especially those high in omega-3 fatty acids twice a week
    • Significantly limit your intake of trans fats and saturated fats; only 30% of your total calories should come from fats
  • Exercise regularly: it’s recommended that you exercise at a moderate intensity (e.g. walking) for 150 minutes or at a vigorous intensity (e.g. jogging) for 75 minutes a week
  • Monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides: learn the optimal levels for each and get them all checked on a regular basis
  • Try to quit or significantly limit smoking and reduce your alcohol intake: two drinks a day for men and one for women are recommended

We urge each of you to take your heart health seriously and make the necessary changes in your life to improve it. If you’d like more assistance with an exercise program that’s right for you, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation in Washington, DC can help. Contact us at 202-223-1737 or e-mail to schedule an appointment, or click here for more information.

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