We stumbled across this article and thought it would be a great addition to heart week:
You can dramatically reduce your chances of having heart disease or dying from heart disease if you do five simple things.
That’s what a new study in the recent edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found.
And it’s good news since studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that heart disease is the leading cause of death for American women and men.
February is American Heart Month.
So, here is what you need to do. And while women were studied in this case, these habits would be good for men’s hearts, too.
- Don’t smoke, or stop smoking
Smoking doesn’t hurt just your lungs and age your skin prematurely, it also hurts your heart. In fact, nearly as many smokers die of heart disease as they do from lung cancer. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. —The chemicals in cigarettes cause physical damage to your heart, and they mess with your blood cells. There’s a reason the World Health Organization calls smoking the “gradual killer.”—-Smoking can cause plaque to build up in your heart. That plaque narrows your arteries, making it hard for the blood to circulate. Have too much plaque, and you’ve got coronary heart disease.—If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, ask for help. Only about 4% of people are able to quit without counseling or medicine, according to the American Cancer Society.
- Exercise, even just 2.5 hours a week
These women weren’t at an hourlong exercise class class every day.They exercised at least 2.5 hours a week.That’s less time than most people spend in the shower each week. It’s not a high bar, but the study found even a small amount of physical activity made a real difference.–What counts as moderate-to-vigorous-intensity exercise?–It means walking at a moderate or brisk pace, backpacking, hiking, bicycling, doing yoga, boxing, tennis or most any team sport.–So get out there and get physical.
- Keep a healthy diet
A “healthy” diet was based on the Alternative Healthy Eating Index.That’s a fancy term the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion came up with to determine how well American diets “conform to recommended healthy eating patterns.”
- Watch a limited amount of television
That guideline is painful for someone who works for a TV company, but the good news is you don’t have to give up “Scandal” and “Downton Abbey” completely.”Limited” television is estimated at about seven hours a week or less. That means there’s room for “Anderson Cooper 360°,” too. Earlier studies have found people who watch more than seven hours of TV tend to sleep less and weigh more. Sitting for long periods disrupts your metabolism. Too much sitting may kill you, new studies show. So, if you are going to watch television, at least do it standing or exercise a bit while watching.
- Final advice
Andrea Kaye Chomistek, the study’s lead author, said an important takeaway from the report is that women who followed just one of these six habits improved their chances of avoiding heart disease.”It is not do all or nothing to succeed,” said Chomistek, an assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Indiana University, Bloomington. “Even if you targeted one, two of these behaviors, your chances improve significantly.” —The other takeaway, she said, is that you should start doing one (or all) these things while you are still young, long before you may show any signs that you could be heart sick.”People in their 30s and 40s often feel invincible and don’t feel they need to worry about heart disease, but that’s not the case,” she said. “We saw plenty of cases of heart disease in that category, not a huge number, but women did develop risks. “These are simple things women can do to avoid going in that direction.”
Read Original Article here: http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/05/health/feat-healthy-heart-habits/