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8 Ways To Reduce Your Risk Of Having a Heart Attack

8 Ways To Reduce Your Risk Of Having a Heart Attack

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    It may surprise you to know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men as well as women. About 250,000 American men, and about the same number of American women, die from this disease every year. A heart attack can strike without you even knowing that you have heart disease, so reduce your risk of having a heart attack by practicing these eight healthy habits.

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    1. Don’t start smoking, and if you already do, stop. The unhealthy habit of puffing on cigarettes damages body organs, and the heart is one of them. Smoking also causes plaque buildup and narrowing of the arteries, which causes coronary heart disease, or CHD. It contributes to peripheral artery disease, or PAD, as well. CHD and PAD raise your risk for a heart attack.
    1. Monitor your blood pressure because high blood pressure, or hypertension, can raise your risk for heart disease and lead to a heart attack. Take special care to keep your blood pressure low if you are overweight. If hypertension runs in your family, watch your blood pressure. Also, avoid eating too much salt. Take medication if your blood pressure is high and you cannot lower it on your own. Normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg.
    1. Eat for the health of your heart. Consume leafy greens and fruits, low-fat meat and poultry, nuts and seeds, soybeans, beans, and healthy oils like olive oil, corn oil, safflower oil, and canola oil. Stay away from foods that contain saturated fat, trans fat, and a lot of carbohydrates and sugar. Develop a low carb meal plan to prevent diabetes, since diabetes raises the risk for a heart attack. Also avoid drinking too much alcohol.
    1. Tame your anger. Anger is a major cause of stress, and stress brought about by anger has been known to cause heart attacks. Sometimes people resort to consuming an abundance of food, alcohol, or cigarettes to combat stress. Since all of these actions contribute to heart disease, it’s obvious that stress should be avoided at all costs. To reduce your stress level, exercise, engage in relaxing therapies, and cultivate strong relationships.
    1. Stay active to reduce your risk of having a heart attack. Keep moving to keep blood pressure and cholesterol low too. Regular exercise can also protect you from diabetes, and being active on a regular basis will help keep your weight under control.
    1. Lose weight if you are obese. Excess body fat raises your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. A body mass index that ranges from 18.5 to 24.9 is desirable, and you can check yours using a BMI calculator. You can also check to see if you are overweight by measuring the size of your waist. Women who have a waist that exceeds 35 inches are considered overweight. Overweight men have a waist that exceeds 40 inches.
    1. Eat heart healthy when dining out. When you are not the one preparing the food you eat, you don’t know if your food is heart healthy or not. To find out what’s in the dish you are ordering and about to consume, simply ask your waitress. If it is a dish that is made with a lot of butter, which is high in saturated fat, order something else.
    1. Keep bad cholesterol at bay to prevent a buildup of plaque in the arteries that can cause a heart attack. Read all the labels on the foods you eat to see how much cholesterol these foods contain. Make sure your cholesterol level is below 200 mg/dL. If it is higher than that, talk to your doctor about lowering it.

    These eight simple steps can save your life. They are easy to follow and worth the effort. Don’t wait to start practicing these heart-friendly habits.

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    Last Updated on January 14, 2019

    7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

    7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

    From Atkins to Paleo to eating gluten-free despite not being one of the rare few people afflicted with celiac disease, fad diets are everywhere. It drives me crazy because I believe these diets do more harm than good. Your body is made up of a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, and losing weight healthily isn’t possible when you fill your body with unnecessary synthetic plastics, sugars, and powders. There’s no easy button in life.

    What you need to do is exercise, which isn’t very appealing to many people. Workouts take work, so there’s already a stigma involved in going to the gym. Starting a healthy workout regimen becomes easier when you make it fun. If you want to live long and prosper, get off the couch and try these methods to turn your workout into a playout.

    1. Take the scenic route.

    Walking is an easy way to transition to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s free. Not only do you burn calories (check out this calculator for how many calories you burn based on your weight), but you see the world in a different way. Hiking in nature is great if you have access to it, but don’t let living in an urban area deter you from walking.

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    Whenever I’m creatively stuck I get my head straight by walking a couple of miles. It’s also how I discover new paths, meet new people, and stumble upon hole-in-the-wall spots I never would have found otherwise. You could drive past the same place every day and never appreciate the beauty, nor even notice it’s there.

    2. Distract yourself.

    No matter what exercise routine you choose, use the time to meditate. You may wonder how marathon runners are able to put so many miles on their bodies. It’s because the pain from running that you avoid is something they’ve learned to harness to enter a transcendental state. If you’re aware of the benefits of meditation and exercise but don’t have time to do both, you can combine them, killing two birds with one healthy stone.

    3. Listen to music or podcasts.

    There are few experiences in life more pleasurable than turning up the music and drowning out the world around you. With so many podcasts and music apps available on your smartphone, you can easily find entertainment options perfectly suited to your personal tastes. Never worry what people may think of you when working out;instead, crank up the volume and get lost in your own world. You’ll be in shape before you know it.

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    4. Bring a friend.

    Some people can’t go anywhere alone. While I highly recommend dining out and seeing a movie in a theater alone, having company while exercising is very helpful. It allows you to pace yourself with someone else, and gives you a coach to motivate and push harder than you may have on your own.

    Many exercises are safer when done with a friend, and some sports can only be played with another person. Involving others in your goals can mean the difference between success and failure. Just remember to continue exercising if the other person flakes, or they’ll be in control of your health.

    5. Accessorize.

    There are accessories that can make exercise easier, and sometimes buying a new toy can add some much-needed fun to your routine. With apps like RunKeeper and Nike+, your smartphone is capable of tracking your vitals and progress. Wrist weights can add a new dimension to your workout, and, if you exercise at night, a headlamp can help you see what’s in front of you so you don’t trip.

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    For urban runners and power-walkers, one of the biggest obstacles is other people. It’s difficult to get in your meditative zone and enjoy your music when you constantly have to dodge people. To resolve this vexing issue, Runbell, a startup in Tokyo, has developed the runner’s version of the bicycle bell. With this lightweight brass bell warning people you’re approaching from behind, you’re free to maintain your transcendental state while continuing your workout. Head to their Kickstarter campaign to pledge your support.

    6. Compete.

    A little healthy competition can motivate you to push yourself further in your workout regimen. There are apps like Zombies, Run! which turns your run into a video game, and MyFitnessPal which allows you to connect with others in the exercise community. Whether you’re directly competing with a friend, an online community, or against your previous self, setting goals is the key to reaching them. Running with no destination can feel like an impossible task, and it’s easy to get distracted.

    7. Relax.

    The best part about exercising is how much you enjoy the downtime. If you think laying on your couch all day is enjoyable, it has nothing on that hour you spend as a couch potato after a rigorous workout. Jay-Z said it best, “in order to experience joy, you need pain.” The harder you push yourself while exercising, the better you’ll feel when you’re relaxing.

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    With that said, don’t relax too much, or it loses the effect. It’s okay to indulge every so often. Treat yourself to some junk food you’re craving, imbibe a drink here and there, and spend a day vegging out on your couch. Staying healthy doesn’t have to be torture. Just turn down when you can and dedicate some time to better the health of your body. You only get one.

    Featured photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay.com

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