The number one leading cause of death across the globe is heart disease. Each year cardiovascular disease (CVD) takes approximately 17 million lives globally and over 800,000 lives in the US.
While these numbers are staggering, many of us can prevent heart disease if we simply do just one thing, choose healthy habits.
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Here are 4 healthy habits you can begin right away to help fight against heart disease.
1. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight or obese is a major contributor to heart disease. It is important to gain control over your weight. It’s not enough to simply lose weight, but you want to lose body fat, specifically visceral fat. Visceral fat surrounds the organs causing major complications such as heart disease.
So many of us have difficulty losing weight. However, this is not a reason not to try. One method you can choose to help gain control of your weight brings us to healthy habit #2.
2. Get Active
A sedentary lifestyle does not simply mean you are sitting around doing nothing, but that you are also contributing to your heart disease. You must get up and get moving. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommends that adults should get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week.
This does not mean:
- You have to do 1 to 2-hour workout sessions a day. Simply do 20 minutes a day, and you will be fine. There is no reason we cannot fit 20 minutes of activity a day into our daily routine, helping to add many more healthy years to our lives.
- You do not have to pay and go to a gym. Forget traveling to and from a crowded gym. Moderate-intensity activity can simply take the form of a nice brisk walk, going out dancing with your partner, or doing yard work.
3. Choose Healthy Foods
Eating healthy nutritious meals should be your aim every day. Okay, so let’s say that’s your goal but not your reality; what needs to happen is that you must add lots of fruits and vegetables to your daily diet. Begin to cut out foods high in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. It is also extremely important to reduce your salt and sugar intake, as well as cut back on the amount of alcohol you drink (no more than 2 drinks per day for men and no more than one drink per day for women).
4. Stop Smoking
Tobacco greatly increases the chances of heart disease. If you are a long‑time smoker who has trouble quitting, see your doctor for help. If you do not smoke, do not start.
Remember, quitting smoking is a personal journey, and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s essential to find the strategies and support that are most effective for you. If you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out to healthcare professionals who specialize in smoking cessation for guidance and support.
Implementing this one thing (a healthy lifestyle) that includes these 4 healthy habits may save your life. We never think it will happen to us, but heart disease can happen to anyone at any time. Take these steps to fight against heart disease now and begin living a more healthy and happy life.
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