8 Tips for Long-Term Heart Health

5. Maintain a Healthy Weight

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two out of every three American adults are overweight and more than one-third are clinically obese. This obesity is widespread throughout the United States. As of 2011, all 50 states had obesity prevalence rates in excess of 20 percent. Obesity rates for children are approximately 17 percent and have tripled since 1980.

Of course, this has serious implications since there is a direct link between a sedentary lifestyle, obesity and diseases such as hypertension, high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, stroke and gallbladder disease. If your body mass index, BMI, (a relative measure of body height to body weight) is in the overweight or obese category, your most important heart-health goal is to reduce your body fat.

More5 Daily Diet Tips for a Healthy Heart

6. Know Your Numbers

There are four numbers you should be aware of: blood pressure, cholesterol level, blood sugar level and BMI.

7. Get Regular Check-Ups

There is no better way to identify early indicators of potential heart disease than regular trips to your general practitioner. So go get a check-up this year.

More6 Tests That Can Save You From a Heart Attack

8.  Avoid Destructive Behaviors

This should go without saying but I will say it anyway. If you don't smoke that's great. Make sure you never start. If you smoke, you need to stop. While that is much easier said than done, you should consider the massive health risks smokers incur. In addition to respiratory problems and lung cancer, smoking is a major cause of coronary artery disease.

The risk of heart disease greatly increases with every cigarette, so use that as a motivation to quit. Excessive alcohol use, particularly binge drinking, is another problem when it comes to heart health because it can damage the heart muscle, increase blood pressure and cause weight gain.

MoreScary Heart Disease Statistics

Active logoStay in shape in a fitness class.

About the Author

Tyrone A. Holmes, Ed.D, CPT, is a certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise and a Level 2 cycling coach through USA Cycling. He provides Cycle-Max Coaching for cyclists and multisport athletes who want to improve their performance on the bike and Healthy Life Coaching for individuals who want to lose weight and develop healthier lifestyles. His latest book is Developing Training Plans for Cyclists and Triathletes. Visit his website at www.holmesfitness.com and his Fitness Corner blog at www.doctorholmes.wordpress.com.

Discuss This Article

Follow your passions

Connect with ACTIVE.COM