February is Heart Month in Canada. Heart disease is still one of the leading causes of death in North America (for both men and women). There are certain risk factors that can’t be managed like age, gender, family history and being post-menopausal. Fortunately, we can all reduce the other risk factors with simple lifestyle changes. Many factors are interrelated, so by making a change in one area, you will help others.
- Smokers have more than twice the chance of having a heart attack as non-smokers. Exposure to second hand smoke also increases your risks, so try to maintain a smoke free environment.
- Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol causes raised blood pressure, another risk factor for heart disease. It can also damage the heart muscle. If you choose to drink, the recommended intake is one drink a day for women, and two for men.
- Being overweight puts significant strain on your heart. It also worsens other risk factors like diabetes and high blood pressure. A healthy diet and exercise plan can help you lose weight and lower your chances.
- Even mild to moderate physical activity can reduce your chances of heart disease. Aim for 30 minutes a day, most days of the week. Exercise will help with blood pressure and body weight.
- Millions of people in North America have high blood pressure, making it the most common heart disease risk factor. Exercise, diet, weight, and alcohol consumption all impact blood pressure, so making positive changes in these areas is important.
- By eating a heart healthy diet you can lower your risk of obesity and high blood pressure. Avoid fast food, processed food, refined carbohydrates, refined sugar, and excessive salt. That still leaves lots of delicious options to explore. Check out the recipes on this site.
We can know what we need to do to improve our health, yet struggle with taking the steps required. This is when a health coach is invaluable. I can provide the resources, support and accountability to ensure you are successful.