If you’ve been reading these articles, you probably remember your risk factors for getting heart disease. As we said, there isn’t anything you can do about genetics. If your family members have heart disease you are at greater risk and that’s just that. But hopefully you remember that there are lots of things you can do to lower your chances of getting this potentially fatal disease. And while we would love to turn back the clock, our age is what it is. But if you are nearing (or waving good bye to) age 50, it is time to start taking those “healthy living” suggestions seriously.
First, if you smoke STOP! The number one contributing risk factor to heart disease is smoking. Again, we might have gotten a free pass regarding lots of things when we were younger, but we’re running out of time and our bodies need all the help we can give them. Do it now!
Drop those extra pounds. Making dietary changes is a tough one, but eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats and fish is the way to go. It will not only help you shed those pounds, but it will also give your body the nutrients it needs to function more easily. During the coming year, we’ll look more closely and what Americans are eating and how processed food contributes to many of our health problems.
It’s time to get off that couch and get moving. Thirty minutes a day of moderate physical activity can greatly improve your health. You don’t even have to do it all at once. Two 15-minute sessions will work just as well as one 30-minute session. Walking is perfect. Do it at least four days out of the week On a scale of 1 to 10 where one is “I might as well be window-shopping” and 10 is “I see a bright light” walking at a pace of 4 to 5 will get the job done.
These simple changes can save your life. Notice I said simple, not easy. It isn’t easy to change patterns that have been established over long periods, but you and the people you love are worth the effort.