Interest in health and fitness has never been higher than it is now. The number of gym users has nearly doubled in the last 20 years. The cheap cost of modern gyms and the wide range of locations likely has an impact, but that wouldn’t be enough to double the membership alone. The real driving force is increased knowledge about our health.
Modern Health Problems
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the USA, ahead of even cancer. Added to this are the problems caused by high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, and respiratory disease. All of these health issues are amongst the top 10 causes of death in the USA.
They’re such a big problem because of modern lifestyles. Each of those five problems are heavily affected by lifestyle choices. Genetic factors and environment (especially respiratory disease) still play a part, but the biggest factor is the modern lifestyle.
Processed diets, junk food, too much salt/sugar/fat, smoking, and lack of exercise all play their part. The good news is that you can change your life in all of these areas quite easily. Today we’re focusing on the heart and your heart health.
Working for a Better Heart1
Exercise has massive amounts of benefits for your heart. Remember not to push yourself too hard at the start, easing into it, so the exercise is manageable. If it’s too hard from the start, you’re going to hate it – and that makes it a lot harder to stick with.
Using a simple fitness tracker is helpful because you can view information on how your body performs in normal mode, and while exercising. By knowing your resting heart rate and how much it changes during exercise, you can figure out what intensity you are working at. Aiming for moderate intensity is recommended to get good fitness and health improvements without pushing too hard or risking injury.
Using a blood pressure monitor gives you extra information with regards to your heart health. Blood pressure does vary from person to person. A healthy reading would be around 120/80, with some variation expected. People who are suffering from health issues, such as diabetes, will need to keep a much closer eye on this.
Blood pressure can indicate a number of different problems, and tracking your progress towards a healthier reading is a good thing. Doing cardiovascular exercise a few times a week will affect your pulse, blood pressure, fat levels, and respiratory fitness.
Exercise isn’t the only way to help your heart. Modern diets and lifestyles lead to clogged arteries and extra fatty tissue. Being overweight causes problems and puts a lot of strain on your body, and weight is best attacked via a combination of diet and exercise.
Firstly you should cut out any junk food and avoid processed foods as much as possible. Limit the candy and chocolates to once in a while, and try to be more responsible with how much red meat you eat. Sugary drinks are also extremely bad for you, so replace them with water – it helps your body in an incredible number of ways.
Using a kitchen scale helps with both cooking (so you don’t make too much or too little) and with portion control. There are websites online that can estimate the calorie count and nutritional value of your food, useful for deciding portion sizes and even for choosing future recipes.
Cooking methods have an effect on how healthy your food is too. Avoid fried foods and try to switch to healthier cooking methods when possible. Baking, boiling, and steaming are amongst the healthiest methods. Keep in mind that overcooking can remove nutrients from food too.
The air fryer is a great way to allow some types of fried food while reducing the amount of oil used massively. The lower oil means the food is a lot less fatty or greasy, so you don’t get as many negative effects as deep-fried food. Remember, this doesn’t mean you can eat fried foods without consequences – it still takes a balanced diet to make the most of your heart healthy.