4 Simple Steps To Avoid Heart Disease.
We know that approximately 80% of cardiovascular diseases can be prevented through:
- Not smoking
- Eating a healthy diet
- Engaging in at least 3.5 hours of physical activity per week
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
Unfortunately, studies show that less than 3% of Americans meet these four criteria for preventing heart disease. Yet, we know that focusing on these four things can be a much more effective way to treat and prevent heart disease than relying on medications as traditional medicine does.
Why Aren’t We Avoiding Heart Disease?
Many of us struggle to even understand what a healthy diet consists of, let alone consuming one! With so much conflicting information out there around what the best diet is, it’s not surprising that so many of us struggle with our diet and health.
On top of that, many people experience a lot of frequent stress that can make things like maintaining body weight difficult. Stress can interfere with our sleep, making it even more difficult to regulate weight and recover from exercise.
Many of us work very stagnant office jobs that don’t require a lot of physical activity. And many people rely on their afternoon cigarette break to get away from the desk for a brief moment in the day to de-stress.
We might know that our habits are unhealthy and we might know what we should be doing to prevent heart disease, but we still aren’t doing it, because while the list above is simple, it’s far from easy.
A Life Change
It’s easy to say ‘swap your fast food lunch for a homemade nutrient-dense quinoa bowl!’ but it’s a little less easy to achieve when you have 3 kids at home demanding all of your time and attention with you barely being able to get their lunches packed for school, let alone a freshly prepared meal for you too!
In a lot of cases, we might even tell ourselves that it’s easier to opt for medication to deal with our increased risk of heart disease. If we can pop a statin to control cholesterol levels instead of changing our diet, that’s just as good, right?
Medication can only do so much in the body to fix the current breakdown, but if we continue to pile onto the problem, the medication will have to always be there to repair, repair, repair…
Changing our diet and lifestyle to stop the damage occurring in the first place is a much more productive solution. We believe that long-lasting health is achieved through gradual improvements over time, rather than changing everything overnight with unrealistic and unachievable goals.
After all, our lives are constantly evolving! The ways in which we look after ourselves today might have to change tomorrow. We might have to change our diet when we relocate. Or maybe our sleep schedule changes due to a new family member…
Health is not created in any amount of time, it’s always evolving based on the information we give it through the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the self-care habits that we give our body.
What is one small thing that you can change today to improve your health? For example…
Let’s say you have a genetic risk of developing heart disease and don’t currently exercise. You used to workout at the gym and enjoyed it, so you signed back up but haven’t gone yet.
Maybe the first step of the goal to get to the gym for 3.5 hours per week is:
- ‘Putting my pre-packed gym bag in the trunk of my car every evening before bed’
Maybe the second part of the goal is
- ‘Schedule time into my calendar to go to the gym for *shortest time you’d go for*’
Once you’re at the gym, you can decide if you want to stay longer, but the important thing is to find something that consistently works for you and is easy for you. If the gym isn’t working, maybe it’s time to try something else, like going for a 10-minute walk, doing some gardening, or some other housework activity.
So What Are The 4 Steps To Preventing Heart Disease?
- Start with a small diet or lifestyle change
- Become consistent with that change
- Make slight improvements to the new habit over time
- Pick another small improvement to implement and repeat
Check out our other articles to understand what ‘eating and living healthy’ looks like for people who are trying to prevent and treat heart disease.