As a team of benefits strategists, we work hard every day to make sure we’re exceeding client expectations and providing the most innovative and value-generating plan designs and advisory services.
Playing “Heart” to Get
Did you know our hearts pump nearly 2,000 gallons of blood a day—constantly supplying oxygen, nutrients, hormones and essential cells throughout the body? But when our hearts are working harder than they need to, it can lead to them being more susceptible to heart disease.
If heart disease sounds like a generic term– that’s because it is! The term “heart disease” simply refers to several heart conditions including heart failure, arrhythmias, cardiomyopathies and (the most common) coronary artery disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans, and we take February to focus on our heart health, learn what affects it and how to care for it.
Heart health is a journey, but it starts with small steps.
The best place to begin is with a visit to your primary care provider for an annual physical. The Doctor’s office is not everyone’s favorite place to go, but it is vital to routinely have your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar checked to assess the current state of your heart.
Did you know that nearly 5 million people in the US have high blood pressure and don’t even know it? Understanding your personal health needs and risk factors will help your doctor to know what lifestyle and medical suggestions to give to improve your heart health.
Second, it is never too late to practice eating a well-balanced diet. Obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol are all precursors to heart disease, so it is best to get ahead of them early,
Remember—don’t feel like you have to change everything at once! Habits are made through repetitive, tiny decisions, every day. You could start by replacing one snack with a fruit or vegetable. The next week, replace your lunch with healthier alternatives of your favorite foods like ground turkey instead ground beef. Slowly but surely, little habits help to create sustained lifestyle change.
Lastly, get moving!
If you’re anything like me, February can easily turn into a very sedentary month. Chilly winter weather just refuses to let go. There is nothing wrong with trying to stay warm, but the American Heart Association recommends working 150 minutes of moderate exercise into your week.
How you get that exercise is up to you—it could be dancing, walking, running and more. Find physical activities you enjoy and make them a part of your weekly routine!
Developing heart disease later in life does not have to be inevitable. Consistent practices today will allow us to take care of our hearts for our families, friends and communities in the years ahead.
Happy American Heart Month from all of us here at Apex Benefits!