February is Heart Disease Awareness month, and I’m so excited to be able to share with you some important statistics and preventative methods, and hopefully it will hit home that YOU, my friend, need to start exercising! If you are already exercising, then you will be armed with important facts to help encourage friends and family to start!
I love and appreciate breast cancer awareness month, and I sob during the NFL games when they have the testimonies of women who didn’t think to check themselves until the football players started wearing pink shoes. And I mean sob. I am excited with how much and how quickly awareness for breast cancer has spread, but really disappointed with how little people know about Heart Disease- which is the #1 killer of women, and a disease that we have a BIG say on whether or not we actually get!
About 1 in every 4 deaths in the United States is caused by Heart Disease. All of the risk factors except family genes can be prevented or controlled. Here’s the list:
- being overweight or obese,
- high blood pressure,
- high LDL cholesterol,
- poor diet,
- physical inactivity,
- excessive alcohol use, and
- diabetes (CDC).
According to the CDC, an American has a heart attack every 34 seconds . This is scary, depressing, and hopefully motivating. Don’t you dare think it’s too late to improve your health! Every healthy choice makes a difference, and you are 100% worth it. You were not made to be a statistic. You were made for a purpose and part of that purpose is to leave a positive, lasting mark on the people who are lucky enough to meet you. Therefore, society NEEDS you to be healthy, active, and living life to the fullest. :)
First of all, I encourage you to see your doctor! My specialty will be helping you to be active (getting the recommended 2 hrs 30 min a week!) and help you lose weight, but a doctor will be the best person to talk to about your risk factors. But let’s talk about exercise while we are here together ;)
Cholesterol and Blood Pressure: Exercise increases your HDL (the good) cholesterol, decreases unhealthy triglycerides, and helps your blood to flow more smoothly. Exercising stimulates enzymes that help remove LDL (the bad) cholesterol from the blood and take it to the liver to eventually be excreted. It also makes the lipoproteins larger (HDL & LDL) so they can’t creep into the linings of the blood vessels, which helps LDL be less dangerous. All of this helps to decrease blood pressure, along with exercise making your heart stronger so it doesn’t have to do as much work. Exercise can have an effect on blood pressure within 1-3 months of starting, and the effects will last as long as you keep exercising! Wahoo! :)
Blood Chemistry/Diabetes: Exercise increases insulin sensitivity, which helps cells to use insulin more effectively to take up sugar in your bloodstream. When your muscles are being contracted during activity, they use glucose (blood sugar) as energy, which helps to lower overall blood sugar levels. The changes with type 2 diabetes are a little complicated, but overall, exercise will improve your blood chemistry and help ward off diabetes or help gain control over it.
Overweight/Obese: Experts say losing weight is as simple as monitoring calorie intake vs. calorie expenditure (of course, those experts are probably skinny from running away from everyone wanting to fight them for using the word “simple” here). Exercise burns calories and increases metabolism , which will certainly help with losing weight. It’s most effective when paired with healthy eating. Most people tend to overestimate how much they burn and underestimate how much they eat! Keeping track of your calories (find me on myfitnesspal!! – allisonlora12) and watching portion sizes will really help.
Physical inactivity: Exercise obviously helps with this ;) They say the best type of exercise is the one you will actually do!
The Fit Tutor could be what you are looking for to help you reduce your risk of heart disease, gain confidence, look better, fight depression, and have more energy. We have 240+ exercises and cardio plans to help increase strength (Non-strength training adults lose anywhere from 3-5 pounds of muscle per decade after age 30– ahhhhhh!), burn calories, fight disease, and help you to get the body you have always wanted. We have modifications for every level of exerciser, and workouts designed by a personal trainer! You get a 2 week free trial, so go ahead and check us out! All you need is a pair of dumbbells! :)
Here are a few helpful links for some of the other risk factors. Remember, go talk to your doctor today!
- Don’t smoke. If you smoke, quit as soon as possible. Visit www.cdc.gov/tobacco andwww.smokefree.gov for tips on quitting.
- 8 Heart Healthy Diet Tips
- List of HDL increasing foods – I love Mark’s Daily Apple, by the way. If you have time, read some other articles!
- List of foods to improve HDL, LDL, and Triglycerides
- Info about Alcohol and Heart Disease
- Know ALL the signs/symptoms of a heart attack
- A story about reversing type 2 diabetes
- I also got a lot of my information from the CDC, Mayoclinic, and AHA! Lots of great info on these sites.
I believe that you have what it takes to make changes to live a healthier life! Share this will all of your friends & use the hashtag #GoRed for Heart Disease Awareness Month!
Allison, this is an exceptional article. Thank you.