Poor lifestyle habits such as getting less than adequate sleep, irregular intake of meals, binge drinking, smoking, lack of physical exercise and even consuming unhealthy food everyday can lead to weight gain. Over time, this could develop into obesity which by itself increases the risk cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, stroke, etc. It can impact the overall lifespan of an individual.
Sedentary lifestyles seem to be the biggest contributing factor, many people lack the commitment to maintain a healthy heart. Not many of them realize that the lifestyle they lead can play a vital role in their body health and well being. The number 1 cause of death in most countries worldwide is heart disease. In the United States alone, heart related diseases are steadily climbing each year, with the number 2 cause of death being a stroke.
Remember, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is your responsibility as being fit and in shape can lead to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, stroke, diabetes and more. The suggestions listed below can help you start off in making good, beneficial lifestyle choices.
Change one behavior at a time
No one is born with unhealthy habits, these develop over time and can be hard rooted into us. When trying to break existing patterns, replace a single habit at a time. People tend to set idealistic goals which can be very difficult to achieve, especially when it comes to weight loss.
To ensure that you reach your goals, focus on small changes one at a time. Once the new changes become part of your daily routine, then go ahead and implement another change. As time progresses, you will see the impact of the healthy lifestyle changes inculcated.
Remember to keep it simple
Chalk out a list of lifestyle changes you want to make. Categorize them into short term and long term goals. Go through the list of short term goals and measure them into manageable steps such as weekly and monthly goals.
For example, if one of your goals is to lose 10 pounds over the next 90 days, split it into a weekly challenge where the goal is to lose 2 pounds every week. This will ensure that you reach the set goal slowly but surely and at the end of 90 days, you will definitely be content with the progress made.
It is alright to ask for support
Do not be embarrassed or afraid to ask for support from the people you are most comfortable with, even if they are relatives or extended family. These are the people who care about your well being and will certainly do what they can to support you.
If you are having a hard time sticking to your new routine, ask a friend to tag along. Having a fitness buddy can help you stay motivated and have a positive impact on your new lifestyle changes.
How to Start Making Good Lifestyle Changes?
Check High Blood Cholesterol
As more and more unhealthy foods are consumed over time, fat particles can build up in your arteries and reduce the blood circulation in your body. Eventually, as the fat particles keep piling on, it could lead to a stroke or heart attack. To prevent this, ensure that you monitor your saturated fats and cholesterol intake closely. The following equation is used when calculating your cholesterol levels.
HDL + LDL + 20% of Triglyceride Level
Low Density Lipoprotein
Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) is also referred to as ‘bad’ cholesterol. Maintaining a low LDL will be less harmful for your heart. Nonetheless, consuming junk food on a daily basis can lead to an excess intake of trans fats and saturated fats. This can increase the levels of LDL cholesterol in your body.
High Density Lipoprotein
High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) is commonly called ‘good’ cholesterol. In HDL, a higher level is considered to be better. If you have a low level of HDL in your body, the risk of heart disease is much higher. Factors that reduce the level of HDL include sedentary lifestyles, obesity, type 2 diabetes, smoking and genetics.
The most common type of fat in the body is called Triglyceride. The adequate level of Triglyceride largely depends on the gender and age of an individual. When combined with a high level of LDL or low level of HDL cholesterol, it could lead to the excess buildup of fat deposits in the artery lining region.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
When it comes to alcohol consumption, keep in mind that drinking excessively can lead to high blood pressure, increase your chances of stroke, cancer and cardiomyopathy. Studies have shown that a daily intake of alcohol can result in overeating, weight gain, increased triglyceride levels and irregular heartbeats. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has stated that the minimal level of alcohol consumption should be not more than 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink for women.
Reduce High Blood Pressure
In the United States, the major risk factor for stroke is high blood pressure. Make sure to carefully monitor your salt intake and partake in some form of physical activity. Studies have shown that regular physical exercise can keep your cholesterol levels in check, reduce high blood pressure and excess body fat.
If you have a medical condition that prevents you from doing any rigorous activities, try something moderately intense. The average exercise time for beginners is around 150 minutes per week.
Around 55% of people above the age of 62 who have diabetes succumb due to some form of heart disease and around 16% of people die of stroke. Diabetic people who follow sedentary lifestyles, regularly consume alcohol and cigarettes are highly prone to cardiovascular diseases.
People who smoke have a higher risk of heart related diseases. Smoking releases carcinogens (substance that promotes the formation of cancer) into the body which sticks to the inner walls of the lungs and arteries.
Quitting cigarettes can be tough, if there is someone from your household that indulges in cigarettes, encourage them to stop. It is much harder to recover from a stroke or heart attack for smokers than non smokers. Smoking is an expensive habit, quitting cigarettes can also help save money.
Maintain Healthy Weight
When it comes to maintaining your weight, ensure that you check the amount of calories consumed for each meal. Once you measure your intake, gauge where you stand and what exercise routines to perform to burn the excess calories.
Obesity is at an all time high in the United States, especially among children. Many of whom have tried crash diets and supplements. However, this is not as impactful as the weight lost is quickly regained once the diet is over.
The best way is through regularly consuming meals high in nutrition and a good exercise routine. There are many risks associated with obesity such as increase in blood pressure, higher ‘bad’ cholesterol levels and insulin resistance. For step by step information on maintaining a healthy weight, visit healthtrends magazine.
Consume Nutritious Food
Cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by maintaining a healthy diet. Consuming nutritious food can strengthen your immune system and make your body less prone to diabetes. If you are overweight, stick to nutrient-rich foods. These contain minerals, vitamins and fiber but are low in calorie count.
A healthy diet will consist of legumes, fish, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, fruits, poultry and low-fat dairy products. Refrain from consuming aerated beverages, red meat, cakes and sweets. If you are on medication, consult your doctor when choosing good nutritious foods.