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Many of us like to consider ourselves healthy. We take our vitamins (semi-regularly at least), exercise when we can, and generally feel in pretty good shape. However, especially as we age, a regular checkup from the doctor could reveal that an element of your health is out of check. Whether your blood pressure has spiked or your cholesterol levels are leaning towards the danger territory, there are a number of changes you can make to get common health problems in check before they have the chance to worsen and jeopardize your wellbeing.
Did you know that a staggering one in four deaths in the United States is attributed to heart disease? This disturbing Centers for Disease Control (CDC) statistic reveals that heart health is a serious issue that many Americans suffer from. And with the alarming mortality rate, just because heart disease is unfortunately quite common does not mean it should ever be taken lightly. To avoid becoming a statistic, it is imperative that people take control of their heart health. Fortunately exercise is one of the best things you can do to improve heart health.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting a minimum of 150 minutes of moderately paced activity each week, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, such as biking. Vigorous aerobic activities like biking can do wonders for your heart, while even slow cycling can make a huge difference if you make sure to keep it up for moderate periods of time. Aim for keeping your heart rate elevated for at least 30 minutes of exercise a day at a minimum of five days a week. It will also be highly beneficial to incorporate heart healthy foods into your diet, such as berries, leafy greens, whole grains, beans, avocados, fatty fish, walnuts, dark chocolate, and more!
Another area of health that Americans struggle with maintaining is blood pressure. Many deal with high blood pressure, which can lead to blood clots and raise the risk for having a stroke. Don’t allow your blood vessels to be damaged and weakened by seeking natural ways to lower blood pressure and get your health in line. Having high blood pressure puts you in an incredibly risky predicament, but the good news is that it is entirely within your power to lower your blood pressure on your own. It might not even require any medications!
Handle your spiked blood pressure early on to avoid requiring more extensive intervention. In order to lower your blood pressure, it’s essential to relax. That means turning off your electronics and focusing on quiet time with yourself. Seek out an effective meditation routine, reduce stress in a relaxing bath, get your daily levels of sunshine, and remember to stay active. You can also potentially lower your blood pressure through eating the right foods. Foods that are believed to have a beneficial effect on high blood pressure include beets, bananas, celery, cherries, blueberries, leafy greens, fish, and turmeric. And, of course, it’s essential to cut salt, fried foods, and excessive alcohol out of your diet.
Many avoid the perils of high blood pressure only to find themselves being told they have high cholesterol. And of course, a whole host of people suffer from both conditions, which can really put their health at risk. The dangers of high cholesterol include heart disease, stroke, and artery disease. In order to lower high cholesterol, you must make certain lifestyle changes. One of the most important things you can do for your body is eat heart healthy foods. Reduce saturated fats and cut out trans fats, and instead reach for foods with omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fiber.
Once again, exercise is a necessary component of health, and it is vital to make sure you get your weekly exercise in. Additionally, if you are a smoker, you likely won’t be surprised to learn that you have to stop this dangerous habit right away in order to support cholesterol health. (And, of course, overall health!) If you are overweight even by a few pounds, losing weight is also a great way to get your cholesterol in check. Lastly, before you consider turning to medications, be sure to cut down on your alcohol intake so that you only drink in moderation. You might be resistant to these changes at first, but once you start to reap the physical and mental benefits of a healthy lifestyle, you’ll never consider going back!
While there are some health conditions that are out of our control, the good news is that many cases of heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are entirely capable of being reverse due to lifestyle changes. Don’t just accept bad health. Understand that by making the proper diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes, you can get your health in check and greatly lower your risk for certain diseases, increasing both your lifespan and quality of life.