February is American Heart Month.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States
The good news is that 80% of heart disease is preventable if you control your risk factors like high blood pressure, diet and exercise.
For this In Good Health, Whitney Amann has some advice from McLaren Northern Michigan to help reduce your risk of heart disease.
It’s one of the most important muscles in your body…
“Imagine a fist-sized muscle pumping blood to the rest of your body,” said Dylan Rosenthal, exercise physiologist at McLaren.
Work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
“So just like a car needs an engine, engine oil to help it run, like our heart pumps blood and circulates blood and an engine circulates oil, you have to perform constant repairs to a vehicle to make sure it runs properly and smoothly,” Rosenthal said.
The same goes for your heart.
“More women actually die of heart disease than men, and more women die of heart disease than any type of cancer than breast cancer, any other type of cancer,” said Jacqueline Harris, physiologist at exercise at McLaren.
Although some people are more prone to heart disease, there are simple changes everyone can make.
“Making sure we manage our heart health is so important to maintaining longevity vitality in this lifetime,” Harris said.
The American Heart Association recommends getting at least two and a half hours of exercise per week.
30 minutes a day, five days a week.
“I know it’s cold outside, so join a gym, join a center if you’re not going to go out,” Harris said. “It’s dark in northern Michigan, we need to find something to entertain ourselves besides Netflix.”
But just like needing a well-balanced diet, you need a well-balanced exercise plan.
So be sure to incorporate a cardio routine and resistance training.
“I would recommend either seeking some type of professional assistance with this, whether it’s a personal trainer, an instructor, someone who is credentialed and knows what they’re doing,” Rosenthal said. .
And some sort of restorative exercise plan.
“So it could be yoga, it could be Pilates, it could be sauna and static stretching,” Rosenthal said. “It could be your own thing. I mean, it could be used in a swimming pool.
And all of this can be done without a gym membership or even without leaving your home.
Another risk factor to consider? Stress.
With stress feeling like everywhere we turn lately, it’s important to add tools and techniques to your daily routine.
“Meditation tools, imagery, taking time to relax and rest and disconnect and it has a lot to do with basic things like planning, managing a to-do list, staying organized .,” Rosenthal said. “These are all things that can contribute to less stress.”
But remember, it’s okay to start small.
“When I go to see patients after a heart attack or after a stent and I go to them and tell them everything in moderation and start slow because it’s going to be too stressful for you to give it all up,” Harris said. “Start a new exercise program, change your diet, quit smoking, if you try to do all of these at the same time it’s very stressful and then you tend to quit.”
McLaren Northern Michigan has been named one of the Top 50 Cardiovascular Hospitals by IBM Watson Health.
Friday, February 4 is your chance to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease and “go red”.
You can participate in unleashing a wave of red on “National Wearing Red Day”.
For more heart health tips, click here.