Whereas it is essential to the health and well-being of our nation…I, Lyndon B. Johnson, President of the United States of America do hereby proclaim the month of February 1964 as American Heart Month.
– Proclamation 3566, December 30, 1963
In 1963 more than half of deaths nationwide resulted from heart disease. Today the number is 1 in 4. We’ve made progress. But heart disease is still the leading cause of death for men and women, with coronary heart disease at the forefront. Many types of heart disease are preventable, which makes American Heart Month just as relevant today.
Many types of heart disease are preventable
Deciding what we eat and how we live reduces our chances of future heart disease, not to mention improving quality of life. The Heart Foundation suggests heart-healthy choices, knowing your family health history and your own risk factors, having checkups, and working with your doctor are all good places to start. Here are 4 lifestyle and self-care tips to start focusing on this February.
- Enjoy a heart-healthy diet
Here’s what the world-renowned Mayo Clinic suggests as the foundations of a heart-healthy diet.
- Enjoy healthy portions
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Eat whole grains
- Choose healthy fats
- Choose low-fat proteins
- Reduce your sodium
- Plan out your weekly menu
- Allow yourself the occasional treat
Healthy foods should never be flavorless or bland. Quite the opposite. A Mediterranean diet is just one example of a world of colorful and richly flavorful cuisines that use lean meats and healthy fats as their main ingredients.
- Exercise smart
Heart-healthy exercise does not mean punishing yourself at the gym.In fact, the amount of physical activity recommended for baseline heart health is a lot less intense than you might think. Moderately intense, steady exercise is best. If you can get out a few words while you’re walking, cycling or swimming, but not quite a full sentence, that’s just about right.
How long and how often should I exercise?
Generally, getting 30 to 40 minutes of exercise per day is optimal for heart health. You can even split exercise into 10-minute intervals and still have it be effective. Activity trackers can often help you plan and monitor your workouts.If you’re dealing with an existing health issue such as heart disease, diabetes or obesity; are a man over 40 or a woman over 50; make sure you talk to your doctor about the right amount of exercise and start out slow.Here are the three essential parts of a good workout:
- Warm up
- Keep an eye on your blood pressure
Long-term damage from high blood pressure can lead to heart attack and stroke. Two major ways to manage your blood pressure are:
- Know your numbers through regular blood pressure monitoring
- Watch out for lifestyle factors like diet, sodium intake, exercise, stress and smoking
- Know your other numbers
People with existing or possible heart conditions are sometimes prescribed to use a mobile EKG monitor. Checking your EKG can tell you:
- If your medications are working
- If a pacemaker or other device is working
- Why you’re having symptoms like chest pain, dizziness or palpitations
- If your heart is getting enough oxygen
A mobile EKG monitor will also make this information easily shareable with your doctor, who has the knowledge to really understand the results.
Toward zero heart attacks and strokes
Going for Zero™ is OMRON’s commitment to pursuing a world without heart attacks and strokes. During American Heart Month you can start making a difference by taking the Going for Zero Pledge. You can also support the American Heart Association or become an advocate.
Join us in committing to American Heart Month by taking advantage of the 20% sale on blood pressure monitors, fitness products and mobile EKGs.