Three Easy Steps for Keeping Your Ticker in Tip-Top Shape
The leading cause of death in American women is not cancer, it's heart disease. Here are just three things you can do to lower your risk of heart disease.
If you were to ask a woman what she thought her greatest health threat was, she would most likely say cancer. Breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and uterine cancer are certainly all a threat. And so are lung, colon and stomach cancers for women. But the largest and fastest killer in women today is heart disease and it's very scary, especially the older you get.
There are so many things you can do to keep your heart in check and as healthy as possible. But if you were to focus on just three things to incorporate into your life without altering it too much, you'd be greatly reducing your chances of developing a heart-related illness – or worse.
1. Get moving. If you are sedentary and don't do a whole lot outside of going to and from work and the occasional set of stairs at home or at the office, you really need to start incorporating movement into your life most days of the week. The American Council on Exercise and the American Heart Association recommends five or six days of moderate exercise (30 minutes daily) for women of all ages. This is particular to women over 30. If you are reading this and thinking to yourself, "I have no time in my day as it is, how will I find more?" You should not be looking at it that way because those 30 minutes a day of exercise could eventually lengthen and quite possibly save your life. Here's a great article on walking your way to consistent weight loss.
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2. Your diet. If you eat a lot of fast food, sugar and simple carbs (you know, the bad stuff) and you do this more than occasionally, you are not helping or adding to the health of your heart and arteries. Start reducing the amount of red meat you eat and replacing it with poultry and fish or seafoods that are high in Omega 3 fatty acids. Choices like organic chicken breast or wild-caught salmon are very good. Start adding more non-starchy vegetables to your meals, choices like broccoli, spinach, kale, asparagus, summer squash, and zucchini. Incorporate healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, walnuts, and almonds into your meals and snacks each day, they're filling and healthy for your heart. Lastly, kick the artificial sugar habit with things like cookies, cake, or candy. It's the worst thing you could be ingesting and it's slowly killing us.
3. Mental mindset. Make time to calm your mind with a 15 minute walk once a day, or maybe a yoga or meditation class once a week. Stress is a direct contributor to heart-related illness and over time, if left unattended, has proven to be very harmful to your heart health. So find 10-15 minutes a day to free your mind from your daily struggles and negative thoughts. I am willing to bet this alone will add years to your life.