The average heart beats over 42 million times a year, driving blood, oxygen, and nutrients to your muscles, bones, and brain. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in America, yet it is something that everyone can do something about. Here are a few tips to remember:
Exercise – This is always harped on, but study after study proves that regular exercise is the best way to increase overall physical health, resilience, cardiovascular health and physical strength. It also helps decrease stress, increase mental health, and improve cognitive function.
Focus on nutrition – It has been said that you can't exercise your way out of an unhealthy diet. Avoid unhealthy fats, excess sugars, sodium, and processed foods. Instead, eat fresh whole foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. High-fiber foods also help you feel full longer, decrease cholesterol, and help maintain weight.
Achieve and maintain a healthy weight – A healthy weight not only increases cardiovascular health, but maintaining a healthy weight also helps to manage high blood pressure, decrease risk of diabetes and cancer, improve mental health, decrease muscle and joint strain, increase endurance, and promote a better quality of life.
Know your numbers – If your blood pressure if high, then that is like applying extra pressure on your heart every hour of every day. In addition, high blood sugar can injure the lining of your blood vessels and increases plaque build-up. Getting those numbers where they are supposed to be is important for long-term health.
Be smoke-free – If you smoke, stop. It may not be easy, but tobacco is the single worst thing you can do to your heart. It also effects those around you, and even your pets! Talk to your doctor about ways to help you quit, or find out tips and get support at the Utah Tobacco Quit line (1.800.QUIT.NOW, or http://www.tobaccofreeutah.org).
Need more ideas? On Tuesday, February 13, dietitians, clinicians, exercise therapists, and other experts will discuss heart health on KUTV and Intermountain Healthcare’s Ask the Expert. Tips and suggestions will be offered throughout the day on channel 2, with experts providing interviews during news and other broadcasts.
If you have your own questions, our panel of experts will be answering your phone calls from noon to 5:30 p.m. at 1-877-908-0680. You can also submit questions via Facebook and Twitter using #KUTVAskTheExpert.
Download a FREE Heart Guide eBook from THIS LINK. Includes a Weekly Exercise Tracker, Food Tracker and Sleep Tracker.
For more information, visit intermountainhealthcare.org/asktheexpert. You can also review the Intermountain Healthcare LiVe Well page for suggestions on healthy habits, or follow LiVe Well on Facebook or Twitter.