Below are five easy steps for women to begin a new heart healthy lifestyle:
1. It's that time again! Schedule your yearly checkup. We understand visiting the doctor is not exactly considered a party, but a yearly checkup will keep you in tune with your body and your health. Each year on your birthday, schedule a checkup to have your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels checked. Reach or maintain your healthy weight by asking your doctor to help develop a personalized plan.
2. Rejuvenate your heart, get physical. While watching your favorite TV shows, step, march or jog in place for at least 15 minutes a day. Take a walk outside, get some fresh air and clear your mind from your hectic work day. Exercise your heart, bring your family, your friends, your dog or just spend some quality time by yourself. Increase your activity by five minutes each week, until you're getting a minimum of 30 minutes most days of the week.
3. Now that you have made it this far, maintain your healthy weight. You've visited your doctor, you're following your plan and you're exercising. Maintaining a healthy weight is a very important component to living longer and stronger. Did you know that excess weight increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes? Don't give up and stay focused, you can achieve a steady, painless weight loss.
Each day, if you eat 200-300 calories less than you would normally consume, and exercise at least 30 minutes on most or all days of the week, you can reach your goal.
4. Eat healthy; yummy treats can be healthy. Out of site, out of mind; keep unhealthy foods hidden. Place fruits and raw veggies in the front of the refrigerator and healthy snacks in the front of the pantry. If you grab healthy foods for a minimum of 21 times, healthy choices will become a habit.
Also, look for the American Heart Association red and white heart check mark. Go online to http://checkmark.heart.org to create and print a heart healthy grocery list directly from the American Heart Association Web site. This easy, reliable grocery shopping tool can help you identify foods to create a sensible eating plan.
5. Shake away the salt. Although those salty foods make your taste buds water with enjoyment, watching your salt intake may help to lower high blood pressure. Pay close attention to food labels, the "salt" term may be disguised and identified as sodium alginate, sodium sulfite, sodium caseinate, disodium phosphate, sodium benzoate, sodium hydroxide, monosodium glutamate (MSG), or sodium citrate.
"We can no longer ignore heart disease," said Karen Murray, chair of the American Heart Association's Women and Heart Disease Advisory Group and group president Claiborne Menswear and Special Markets Brands. "While awareness is important, it's time for women to take action now -- to love and protect their hearts while maintaining healthier lifestyles. To that end, Go Red encourages women to not only join the movement but also take simple, everyday steps to protect their hearts."
Make a promise to yourself and begin to live your new heart healthy life during Women's Health Week. For additional tips on ways to live a heart healthy lifestyle, recipes, an online risk assessment tool and more, please visit http://GoRedForWomen.org!
About Go Red For Women
Go Red For Women captures the energy, passion, and intelligence of women to work collectively to wipe out heart disease -- the No. 1 killer of women. Since 2004, the American Heart Association has fostered Go Red to grow from a grassroots campaign into a vibrant national movement. Using the simple moniker "Love Your Heart," Go Red For Women aims to mobilize women, men, celebrities, healthcare providers and politicians to embrace and elevate the cause of women and heart disease.
The Go Red For Women movement is nationally sponsored by Macy's and Pfizer with additional support by educational grants from Bayer Aspirin and PacifiCare. For more information about Go Red For Women, please call 1-888-MY-HEART (1-888-694-3278) or visit http://GoRedForWomen.org.
Source: The American Heart Association; Contact: Dee Baker Amos, 214-706-1467, or Mechal Weiss, 212-642-7731, both for The American Heart Association; http://GoRedForWomen.org.