February is National Heart Month, and for good reason: according to heart.org, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death, not just in the United States, but in the whole world. One of every three deaths in the United States is caused by cardiovascular disease. Every year around the world, 17.3 million people die from cardiovascular disease. And by 2030, this number is expected to increase to 23.6 million. Don’t be one of those 23.6 million. Be your own healthy heart project. You can start today with these simple steps.
Work It Out
Exercise is critical to heart health. You don’t need to be a marathon runner to have a heart that’s in great condition. According to WebMD, just thirty minutes of exercise, five days a week is enough. It doesn’t matter whether you choose to go for a morning walk or decide to break out that Jazzercise DVD—just get your body moving.
Take the Stairs
An active lifestyle is critical to a healthy heart. And while it’s true that regular exercise is a big part of such a lifestyle, it’s important not to forget the little things. If you’re stuck at a desk all day at work, why not take a little stroll during your lunch break? Skip the elevator and take the stairs instead. Park a little further from the entrance than you need to. Developing little healthy habits like these can go a long way.
Eat Your Veggies
There’s really no way around it—if you want a healthy heart, you have to eat healthy food. Your body is only as good as the fuel you put into it. Make sure you get your daily dose of fruits and veggies, as well as your whole grains. These changes don’t have to be complicated—just try to replace your bad habits with good ones. After a few weeks of eating whole grain cereals and breads, you’ll notice a difference in how you feel. And now that you’re an adult, maybe it’s time to give brussels sprouts another try.
Stress is bad for your heart, so give yourself a break. Leave work at work. Really though. Sheryl from HR can wait until morning to hear back from you, I promise. While it’s impossible to rid your life entirely of stress, it is possible to manage it. And here’s some good news: that thirty minutes of exercise you’ve started doing is already training your body how to do that.
Sleep on It
Just in case you haven’t ever read anything about health, we thought we’d clue you in: sleep is really important. According to WebMD, people who don’t get enough sleep are “more than twice as likely than others to die of heart disease.” So, get those seven to nine hours in at night. If you have trouble sleeping, try turning off all screens (iPads, phones, TVs, etc.) an hour before bed and having a cup of chamomile tea.