There is more than one reason to have noticed hearts afloat this month. February serves as heart health month! As a personal trainer and a health care practitioner, I am a big advocate of healthy hearts! How healthy is your heart? Let’s check in!
Below are some risk factors for heart disease recently published by Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital:
- Your age. Simply getting older increases your risk of damaged and narrowed arteries, as well as weakened or thickened heart muscle. Each of these factors contribute to heart disease.
- Your sex. Men are generally at greater risk of heart disease. However, the risk for a woman increases after menopause.
- Family history. A family history of heart disease increases your risk of coronary artery disease, especially if a parent developed it at an early age — before age 55 for a male relative (brother or father) and before age 65 for a female relative (mother or sister).
- Smoking. Nicotine constricts your blood vessels, and carbon monoxide can damage their inner lining, making them more susceptible to atherosclerosis. Heart attacks are more common in smokers than in non-smokers.
- Poor diet. A diet that’s high in fat, salt and cholesterol can contribute to the development of heart disease.
- High blood pressure. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can result in the hardening and thickening of your arteries, narrowing the vessels through which blood can flow.
- High cholesterol. High levels of cholesterol in your blood can increase the risk of formation of plaques and atherosclerosis. Plaques can be caused by a high level of low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), known as “bad” cholesterol, or a low-level of high-density lipoproteins (HDLs), known as “good” cholesterol.
- Diabetes. Diabetes increases your risk of heart disease. Both conditions share risk factors, such as obesity and high blood pressure.
- Obesity. Excess weight typically worsens other risk factors.
- Physical inactivity. Lack of exercise also is associated with many forms of heart disease and some of its other risk factors.
- High stress. Unrelieved stress in your life may damage your arteries as well as worsen other risk factors for heart disease.
- Poor hygiene. Not regularly washing your hands, or neglecting other habits that can help prevent viral or bacterial infections, can put you at risk of heart infections — especially if you already have an underlying heart condition. Researchers also believe that poor dental health may contribute to heart disease; germs on your teeth and gums can travel from your mouth to your heart, potentially worsening coronary artery disease.
There are several ways to turn the health of your heart around, or to keep it in great shape. One of those ways is something you may already participate in: exercise!
I have a quick, efficient, fun, cardio, circuit workout for you that is great for the gym, a business trip, your own home. This is a fantastic treat for your heart! I always tell my participants, “you may hate me right now, but your body loves me!” (And this includes your heart!)
Complete each exercise for 40 seconds. Rest for 20 seconds in between each set. All out effort for each exercise!
Heart Pumping Jumping Jack Workout!
1 Leg Hops Right Foot
1 Leg Hops Left Foot
If you have any questions concerning any of the exercises listed, please leave me a comment or email me, and I would be happy to explain anything in detail!
Check out this upbeat playlist to go with this upbeat workout!
And lastly, love your heart, love your body, love one another with this whole food recipe! This cake did not come out of a box, and it is not too bad! Enjoy the earth’s natural ingredients!
Lots of LOVE!
“Risk Factors for Heart Disease.” : Cardiology: A-Z List: Health Services A-Z: Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2013.