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This week’s American Heart theme is to move more. Move more and sit less! Building into daily activity is one step at a time. Walking is one of the easiest ways to move more! For most people, it’s safe, easy to stick with, and low- or no-cost. It doesn’t require any special skills or equipment. For such a simple activity, it has so many benefits.
If it’s been awhile since you been active, simply start walking. Park further away to increase your daily steps. Grab a friend or family member and go for a walk. Start slow but also listen to your body, if are experience any discomfort, stop and discuss with your doctor. Other non-impact exercise is swimming and cycling to incorporate into moving more.
Research has shown that walking at a lively pace at least 150 minutes a week can help you:
Think better, feel better and sleep better.
Reduce your risk of serious diseases like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and several types of cancer.
Improve your blood pressure, blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels.
Adding a pedometer is a great tool to help increase those steps. Pedometers aren’t 100% accurate but I believe it’s a great tool to help gauge your daily steps and set goals week to week to increase your weekly average steps. I love my Fitbit but here are some other budget friendly watches
#OurHearts is an inspiring way for The Heart Truth®to get people across the country to join together with friends, family, coworkers and others in their community to prevent heart disease.
Heart disease was one of my families #1 killer along side diabetes. My dad had both. My dad’s passed away due to congestive heart failure (CHF) and an ejection fraction (EF) of 25%. Granted he had another diagnosis which exacerbated his CHF but his death was related to his heart disease.
The words can be misleading. “Heart Failure” doesn’t mean the heart has stopped working. It means it can’t pump properly—so it doesn’t fully support the body’s need for blood and oxygen. Heart Failure is a chronic condition that worsens over time and can lead to hospitalization and even death. Annually, more than 900,000 hospitalizations have a primary diagnosis of Heart Failure—that’s nearly 2 hospitalizations every minute.
My dad had a long history of heart related diagnosis’s. Heart attack in his early 50’s, triple heart bypass, multiple stents, CHF, and the list goes on. But I will never forget the day we were told his EF was at 25%, as a nurse my heart sunk I knew what this meant. But my world was crushed when we were told a EF of less than 30% means hospice care. Means there was nothing more they can do. My dad always had a saying, “I have one foot in the grave and one on a banana peel” and well I guess this is it.
I will never forget the fear in his eyes as we moved through the transition into hospice. My hero was dying and now it was time to make his last journey on earth peaceful and painless.
Being a women approaching my 50’s within a few years, I realize due to family genetics and being a women, I have a high risk of an attack. I make every effort to exercise, rest, reduce stress and eat healthy. Am I perfect, no but I try.
I am trying to fight against my family history of heart disease and hope I can change our family story.
The first step in fighting against heart disease is education and awareness, why I have made February my mission to help spread the word about #ourheart.
Risk factors are conditions or habits that make a person more likely to develop a disease. They can also increase the chances that an existing disease will get worse. Important risk factors for heart disease are:
Some risk factors, such as age and family history of early heart disease, can’t be changed.
For women, age becomes a risk factor at 55. After menopause, women are more apt to get heart disease, in part because their body’s production of estrogen drops. Women who have gone through early menopause, either naturally or because they have had a hysterectomy, are twice as likely to develop heart disease as women of the same age who have not yet gone through menopause. Another reason for the increasing risk is that middle age is a time when women tend to develop risk factors for heart disease.
Family history of early heart disease is another risk factor that can’t be changed. If your father or brother had a heart attack before age 55, or if your mother or sister had one before age 65, you are more likely to get heart disease yourself. Preeclampsia is another heart disease risk factor that you can’t control. However, if you’ve had the condition, you should take extra care to try to control other heart disease risk factors.
Being more physically active and eating a healthy diet are important steps for your heart health. You can make the changes gradually, one at a time. But making them is very important.
You may wonder: If I have just one risk factor for heart disease—say, I’m overweight or I have high blood cholesterol—aren’t I more or less “safe”? Absolutely not. Each risk factor greatly increases a woman’s chance of developing heart disease. But having more than one risk factor is especially serious, because risk factors tend to “gang up” and worsen each other’s effects. So, the message is clear: Every woman needs to take her heart disease risk seriously—and take action now to reduce that risk.
As a women, we tend to neglect ourselves because we are so busy taking care of others. We don’t have time to exercise or make time for your annual physical with your doctor. We are exhausted but keep going, chasing kids, parenting teenagers, working, cooking, caring for our parents, and etc. The list goes on, right?
Women your health is important! Find ways to add healthy habits into your lives. Find ways to relax and reduce stress, here is a great link to American Heart Association in reducing stress. Make 2020 about a healthier you!
“Love is the capacity to take care, to protect, to nourish. If you are not capable of generatng that kind of energy toward yourself – if you are not capable of taking care of yourself, of nourishing yourself, of protecting yourself – it is very difficult to take care of another person. In the Buddhist teaching, it’s clear that to love oneself is the foundation of the love of other people. Love is a practice. Love is truly a practice.” ~ Nhat Hanh
Research has shown that having social support and personal networks makes getting regular physical activity, eating healthy, managing stress, and quitting smoking easier. During American Heart Month, assemble your squad and use #OurHearts to share how you’re working together to be heart healthy.NHLBI
Gather your family and friends, make a commitment to make some changes to prevent heart disease.