Get Serious About Your Heart Health!
With February being Heart month we wanted you to start thinking about your heart health. 8 in 10 cases of premature heart disease and stroke are preventable through healthy lifestyle behaviors. So it’s important that you are making the right lifestyle choices. Don’t know where to begin? We’ve asked some of our Simcoe Place Health Clinic doctors to give you the heart health advice needed to get started:
1. Get Regular Massages
There are a number of things you can do to reduce high blood pressure and getting regular massages may be one of them. A recent study published in The International Journal of Preventive Medicine suggests that massage can play a role in the control of hypertension. The experiment divided 50 women who had prehypertension into two groups. The test group received regular massages while the control group did not. After the study, researchers found that the test group had lower blood pressure readings and that effect lasted for days after their last massage treatment. What does this mean for you? It’s difficult to say if massage is the right treatment for everyone, but if massage relaxes you, it can help with reducing your blood pressure and risk of heart disease.
2. Get Fit
Are you planning to get fit this year? Start with your heart! Many people look towards strength training, classes at the gym, or yoga when it comes to getting active. But let’s not forget the importance of cardiorespiratory health in our lives. These are all pieces of the puzzle when it comes to fitness, but let’s not forget the importance of cardiorespiratory health in our lives. If you are just starting a regular fitness program, focus on cardio training and core stability exercises for the first 6 weeks to prepare for more demanding strength training and high-intensity programs.
If you are interested in tips on designing your fitness program or how to manage physical injuries, speak to our physiotherapist, Keenan Layton.
3. Get Good Sleep
For those aged 5 to 13, nine to 11 hours of sleep per night are needed. For those a little older in the 14 to 17 year age category, eight to 10 hours of sleep per night are recommended. For adults, a minimum of 7-9 hours is recommended. Along with this schedule, it is recommended that bedtimes and wake-up times stay consistent) and SIT (avoid being sedentary; no more than two hours per day of recreational screen time, and limited sitting for extended periods).
4. Quit Smoking
Why quit? Risk of coronary artery disease can decrease within 24 hours of quitting. Within a year, that risk can be decreased by half. In 15 years after going without a smoke, your risk of CAD is similar to someone who has never smoked.
5. Eat Healthy
Try to eat foods in their natural states. Processed foods provide less benefits and nutrition to our bodies. And don’t avoid fats altogether. Omega 3 fatty acids actually help reduce the build-up of atheroma (small fatty lumps). If you need nutrition advice, consult our registered dietitian, Shavonne Nice for details.
6. Watch Your Weight
Excess fat usually gathers around the tummy so measuring your waist is a good way to see if you are increasing your health risk for obesity. As a rule, a waist measurement of 102cm or above for men or 88cm and above for women is a significant health risk. These measurements vary by ethnicity, however. For Asian men, a waist measurement of 92cm or more is seen as a health risk.
7. Have A Glass of Wine
Drinking a small or moderate amount of alcohol can actually help reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. However, remember to drink in moderation. Drinking too much (more than 15 units per week) can actually be harmful to your health. As a general guideline, men should drink no more than 21 units per week and women should abstain from drinking more than 14 units per week. (Note: one unit is about half a pint of normal strength beer, 2/3 of a small glass of wine or one small pub measure of spirits).
8. Manage Your Stress
Stress can sometimes be a good thing by motivating you to work harder. However, when stress is excessive, it can contribute to high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. This can result in heart disease, stroke and other health related problems. There is a proven link between stress and cardiovascular disease.
To manage your stress, try regular exercise, proper nutrition (avoid foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol) and chiropractic care. Yes, spinal adjustments can help regulate both the sympathetic nervous system (better known as our fight or flight response) and the parasympathetic nervous system which looks after our rest, digestion and repair response. It’s important that there is a balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems for the body to operate at its optimal level.
9. See Your Doctor
Instead of wondering whether your heart health is in good shape, visit your family doctor and schedule a physical to have your cardiovascular health risk assessed. Talk to your family doctor about the ideal period of time between check-ups as it differs for everyone based on your age and health history. Contact us today to discuss your health!