According to the American Heart Association (AHA), more than 1 in 3 women has a form of cardiovascular disease. And, heart disease is the leading cause of hospital stays for men in the United States. Over 750,000 Americans die each year due to heart disease. That’s ONE IN EVERY 40 SECONDS. Due to the prevalence of the disease, the AHA recognizes each February as American Heart Month in hopes of raising awareness about the disease and how to prevent it.
Stress and Heart Health: While there are risk factors that contribute to heart disease that you can’t control, there are many things you can do to maintain your heart health. One of those things is to reduce your stress. When stress is excessive, it can contribute to a host of health problems, including high blood pressure. If high blood pressure goes untreated, it can result in heart disease.
Reducing Your Stress: Taking steps to reduce your stress will improve your overall health. Try these tips:
- Plan and prioritize your most important responsibilities.
- Listen to relaxing music to help you calm down.
- Take time off from work to clear your mind.
- Exercise regularly to get your blood and endorphins flowing.
When to Seek Help: If the stresses in your life become more than you can bear or manage with these simple techniques, consider seeking professional assistance. A knowledgeable professional will be able to work with you to devise time management skills and stress-reducing techniques.
Keep Your Heart Healthy Through Exercise: Did you know that exercising regularly could help you fight off chronic conditions and diseases? Exercise can help control your blood pressure, blood sugar and weight, raise your “good” cholesterol, and prevent diseases such as cancer, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. According to the AHA, you should do these three exercises to improve your heart health:
- Aerobic activity: Get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (e.g., briskly walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (e.g., running) every week.
- Muscle strengthening: Incorporate muscle-strengthening exercises at least two days a week. For the purposes of general training, focus on two to three upper body and lower body exercises. Abdominal exercises are an important part of strength training as well.
- Flexibility training: Flexibility training is important too, but it is frequently neglected, resulting in increased tightness as you age and become less active.