Today’s post is a guest post by my friend Lauryn from The Vintage Mom about protecting your heart, literally! Lauryn is my friend through blogging but has become of those women I know I will forever be connected to. She is real, sweet, caring, intelligent and I really love our friendship that has developed over the past year and a half. Lauryn is a registered nurse and social media maven. Her message today is so important to me since my father is currently recovering from open heart surgery and I am at a very high risk for heart disease after having suffered preeclampsia. Please take a minute to see what you can do to promote heart health and protect your heart!
February may be heart month but that doesn’t mean that we can’t take steps every day of the year to be heart healthy. I by no means am perfect. Not in any sense of the word. None of us are and there are very few people that make every single choice to do right by their heart, all.the.time. That said, it doesn’t mean that we can’t strive for it.
There are things we can do, easy steps we can take every single day to make our heart more healthy.
Now, I am very much an all or nothing person, but it is not like that, not when it comes to your health. You can take steps to get there! And each of those steps will make a difference. Here is a graphic by Penn Heart and Vascular that illustrates these focus areas.
The American Heart Association has come out with 7 main focus areas when talking about heart health. If you are an assessment kind of person, you can head online to see how well you are doing in each of these areas and get some information on how you can do better in each specific one.
If you are not an assessment kind of person, reflect on each one of these and see how you can do better. Start with one, or start with more. Either way, just get started. We all have good intentions and non of these are easy, but they are important.
I feel like we are constantly hearing “get active” and “eat better” preached at us. There are small steps that you can take every single day to do each of these.
As far as getting active goes, maybe it is fitting in a 30 minute walk at lunch or leaving early and walking before picking your kids up from the bus stop. Find a friend. Working out with a friend is ALWAYS easier.
When you think about eating better, instead of focusing on cutting things out of your diet, just make sure that you are getting enough of the right things in. After you start eating the recommended amounts of vegetables and fruits, you will just start to want to eat better. Sometimes it can be as easy as shifting the way you think about losing weight or eating healthier.
Now that I just talked about not worrying about cutting things out, just stop eating sugar. Recently a study in JAMA Internal Medicine showed a significant correlation between increased risk for cardiovascular disease mortality. Sugar is one of those things that we have heard is bad for us and even more so for our children for years now so this finding is certainly news, but I am sure not surprising to most of us. Sugar is a tough one because it is addicting. I think that each one of us has a time of day that we are most inclined to grab the sugar filled drink or candy or other food. Try working on that time and maybe the rest will fall into place. Just do something.:)
Speaking of addicting, smoking. I honestly will not for a second speak to the ease of this one. I can only imagine it is difficult. This addiction is not something that I have had to fight before, thankfully. That said, I can speak to the fact that it is worth it. Not only for yourself but for everyone around you as well…including your kids. One thing IS true, smoking is bad for you.
Blood Pressure and Cholesterol: It is important to get them checked. I still feel like I am 18 at times and think to myself, how can I already need to get my cholesterol checked? Well friends, I am not 18 and even if I was, it may not be such a bad idea. Honestly, it is a matter of minutes and a small blood draw. For a wealth of knowledge that can be obtained by it, it is worth it. I certainly think so at least.
So if you do nothing else, look over these 7 focus areas and try to think of at least one or two ways that you can improve (not be perfect) in each of them. Start there and you are already on your way. Heart disease can be preventable or at least treatable. Your health is worth it. Everyone’s health is worth it.
What are some things that you do to make your heart healthier?
Lauryn Blakesley is a mom to three lively children, one creative husband, and the blogger behind The Vintage Mom. Lauryn thrives on creating community and spreading the “gospel of local living.” She’s passionate about fresh food and often can’t wait to get into the kitchen to experiment with healthy ingredients and developing her little ones’ tastes. She works as a social media consultant, and an advocate for fresh, local food. A lover of knitting, running (although mostly after little ones right now), the color orange, fun accessories, fall, tea, and fresh, local food. She spends her days in awe of her family and trying to teach her three to treat others as they would want to be treated.