Heart Disease Facts:
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women—but it doesn't have to be a death sentence for you. According to a Harvard Medical School Special Health Report, there are three major risk factors for heart disease that are within your control. At least 8 in every 10 of the people who develop heart disease have one or more of these risk factors:
- Lack of exercise
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
Increasing Your Activity Level — Move Like Your Life Depends On It!
Here are a few suggestions for addressing each of those three factors.
- As many as 250,000 deaths per year in the United States are attributable to a lack of regular physical activity. The good news is that even small amounts of exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease. In research recently published in Circulation magazine:
- People who met the current minimum standards recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services (2 hours and 30 minutes of exercise a week) reduced their risk of heart disease by 14 percent.
- Those who did more exercise--about 300 minutes a week, or five hours--reduced their risk of heart disease, including heart attacks, angina and bypass surgeries, by 20 percent compared to people who did no exercise, the study found.
Getting exercise doesn't have to be complicated or lifestyle altering. Many of your daily life activities--doing active chores around the house, yard work, walking the dog--help you meet the minimum guidelines. Your exercise schedule should also include some aerobic activities that make you breathe harder and make your heart and blood vessels healthier--such as brisk walking, running, dancing, swimming and playing basketball. Activities like push-ups and lifting weights are good for increasing muscle strength while meeting your exercise guidelines. Try to find activities that you enjoy doing--and then make them part of your regular routine.
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Call VITAL WorkLife at 800.383.1908 any time, day or night, for the support you and your family need. We can discuss ways for you to build healthy habits and manage stress.
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