There are seven lifestyle adjustments you can begin today to influence how fit you are in later life. Proven to achieve cardiovascular health, what are they?
The American Heart Association have coined the phrase “Life’s Simple 7” – a simple tool to encourage people to lead healthier lives.
The first step to a healthier and longer life is to manage your blood pressure.
High blood pressure (i.e. hypertension) is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke – two illnesses that can drastically shorten one’s life.
When your blood pressure reading stays within the ideal range – between 90/60mmHg to 120/80mmHg – there’s less strain on the heart, arteries and kidneys.
In order to do this, make sure physical exercise – enough to get you out of breath – is included in your day-to-day routine.
Moreover, eat lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes, and nuts.
The second step is to control cholesterol levels, as high cholesterol levels are a health hazard.
Enabling cholesterol levels to mount up contributes to plaque formation in the arteries.
This, in turn, narrows the arteries, increases blood pressure and puts your life at risk.
An important way to reduce high cholesterol is to replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats in your diet.
For instance, replace butter (saturated fat) as a spread with avocados (unsaturated fat).
The third step is to reduce blood sugar, as high blood sugar can damage the heart, kidneys, eyes and nerves.
High blood sugar (i.e. hyperglycaemia) can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight – check your body mass index here.
The fourth step is to get active, as it’ll be the most rewarding gift you can bestow upon yourself.
Moving around more is the simple secret behind longevity and a high quality of life.
Adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week.
Resistance and weight training is encouraged twice a week, and turning exercise into a daily habit is the best way to reach your potential.
The fifth step is to eat better – a healthy diet is one of your best weapons against disease.
Tips include portion control, cooking at home and limit salt intake to less than six grams per day.
The sixth step is to lose any excess weight, which will reduce the burden on your lungs, blood vessels and skeleton.
If you’re struggling to lose weight, talk this over with your GP who may be able to help.
The final – and seventh – step is to stop smoking completely. If you’re already a non-smoker, you’re already on your way to a healthier life.
If you combine all these steps together you will secure your chances of leading a long and healthy life.
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