The American Heart Association found 116.4 million cases of Americans estimated to have hypertension. Per 2016 data, there are 2,303 deaths caused by cardiovascular disease every day—an average of one person dying every 38 seconds.
The genetic factor aside, cardiovascular or heart diseases are caused and aggravated by the following factors:
- Bad cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Lack of exercise
- Stress and anger
All these are factors that you have control over. Unfortunately, changing lifestyle choices does not always come easy to most people. The good news is there are small steps you can take that, if consistently done, will have tremendous effects on your physical and mental well-being.
Take back your self-control, and explore these simple lifestyle modifications to prevent the risks of heart disease.
Choose Your Downtime
The need to be productive has become so ingrained in modern society that taking a break from work can sometimes feel sacrilegious.
Know that you deserve a break. As the wise Hindi proverb says, “You cannot pour from an empty cup.”
Relaxing is just as important as working. So find a personal time to take it easy, rejuvenate, or even do nothing.
Unwinding means different things to different people. It can be spending five minutes a day meditating, going on a solo hike on the weekends, spending Saturday afternoon reading, etc. It can also be an extensive and therapeutic body massage. The bottom line is you need to destress, recalibrate, and decant all your worries. They may not all be solved instantly, but downtime lets you figure things out and plan before you head out again into the world.
Just think about how easy it is to spend 30 minutes to an hour scrolling through social media and not even realize you’ve already whiled away that much. Redirecting your focus and energy to a physical activity like jogging or even just walking your dog around your neighborhood can go a long way in improving your physiological well-being.
There are plenty of fitness programs you can take on as a hobby. Running, learning martial arts, cycling, even dancing, or any sport that gets your body moving and heart racing is well worth the effort.
You will find satisfaction not just in the endorphins released every session but in the journey of exploring something new itself.
If it’s any motivation, start buying yourself gear: trainers, running pants, and cycling jerseys. Sometimes, all you need is a little push from yourself. It’s a step-by-step process, after all.
By doing it routinely, you will find that staying active is not as difficult as you thought it was. It also helps to measure your progress with sports accessories such as power meters, to measure your real cycling output, and step-tracking wearables to get up and move.
Consciously Choose What You Eat
You are, indeed, what you eat. Trick yourself into eating a helping of veggies before you put everything else into your plate. Seconds are, most of the time, not worth it. Remember to eat slowly.
It may also help to learn cooking basics and put an effort into preparing your own food. This will change your perspective on eating and make you more conscious of your diet decisions.
Smoking is one of the major risk factors of developing heart disease, and unfortunately, there’s just no way around it than to quit altogether. Take your time quitting as long as you start. If you’ve been at it for many years, it may take a while. That’s all right. The trick is in being consistent with your commitment.
If you’re having a hard time doing it alone, ask for a loved one’s or a friend’s help. Design a plan with some real consequences if you fail to keep on track.
Your body follows a natural cardiac rhythm, which, when disrupted for a significant period, can trigger heart problems.
When you are asleep, your body goes into repair mode, removing toxins and regulating cell processes necessary to maintain your cells’ and organs’ health. A good night’s sleep is your body’s best arsenal against a plethora of health ailments.
A lifestyle shift is never easy. If it were, everybody would do it all the time. As it is, success in the health department is reserved for the best of the best. It requires a shift in perspective and stringent self-discipline.
If you’re ready to take on the challenge, then now is always the time. Start building a habit today, one day at a time.