February is American Heart Month and focusing on good heart health has never been more important, since heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. Below are simple ways you can take to live a heart-healthy lifestyle.
- Know Your Risks. Properly understanding the potential risks of heart disease can help you make the right decisions for your health. Talk to your health care provider about setting and reaching goals for heart health at your next annual checkup. Some simple questions to ask include what is my risk of developing heart disease, what range should my blood pressure and cholesterol be in and how much physical activity do I need to protect my heart, just to name a few.
- Choosing Heart-Healthy Foods. Keeping your heart healthy involves choosing certain foods such as fruits and vegetables. Everything is usually alright in moderation, but limit other foods that are saturated and high in trans fats.
- Manage Stress. Research suggests that emotionally stressful events can serve as a trigger for a heart attack. Some easy ways to manage stress include talking to a licensed counselor, practicing meditation, being physically active and trying different relaxation techniques. Relying on a solid support system of family and friends can also help you cope with stressful situations.
- Getting Quality Sleep. Sleep plays a crucial role in good health and not getting enough quality sleep can result in chronic health problems. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends that adults 18 years and older should get between 7-9 hours of sleep per night. If you are having trouble sleeping, talk with your health care provider to find a proper solution.
- Participate in Regular Physical Activity. Exercising on a regular basis has benefits that go beyond good heart health such as losing weight and lowering blood pressure. The suggested amount of exercise for adults is 30 minutes a day, five days a week. If you have a pre-existing heart or health condition, speak with your health care provider before starting a new exercise routine.
If you have any questions about proper heart health and the steps you can take, speak with your health care provider. Hope Senior Home Care is also a valuable resource for keeping seniors active and their hearts healthy. Contact us today for more information.