When you think of February, what comes to mind? Chocolate? Roses? Love? is February, we’re thinking about your heart. February is heart health month and a great opportunity to take stock of the health of your heart.
If you ask Americans what disease they fear most, they’ll likely say cancer. But there’s a killer even more prevalent than cancer…Heart Disease. According to the CDC, heart disease is the number one killer in America. More women die from heart disease than all forms of cancer combined! Men are 2 to 5 times more likely to have coronary heart disease than premenopausal women. But once women reach menopause, their risk is similar to a man’s. Heart disease is a greater threat than cancer. Now for the good news: heart disease is nearly 95% preventable! YES, PREVENTABLE!
ARE YOU TAKING CARE OF YOUR HEART?
There are three key components to heart health: nutrition, blood sugar level, and exercise. When these areas are monitored and kept in check, you can drastically reduce your chances of ever having heart disease.
Nutrition. What you eat (or don’t eat) directly impacts your cardiovascular health. Your blood vessels and heart have a cell lining called the endothelium. The endothelial cells play a critical role in the tone and health of your blood vessels because they produce nitric oxide. Nitric oxide causes your blood vessels to enlarge, which increases the flow of blood through those vessels, helping blood to flow as though the walls of the vessels are slippery. The best way to keep the endothelial cells healthy is by eating plenty of leafy greens, which contain a rich supply of the amino acid L-arginine, the building block of nitric oxide.
Blood Sugar Level. Your blood sugar level measures how much glucose is circulating in your bloodstream and is directly related to the amount of simple carbohydrates that you consume. Over time, chronic high levels of blood sugar increase your risk of heart disease in different ways:
1. Damage and in ammation of the heart. The higher your average blood sugar, the thicker the walls of your heart become.
2. Hardening of the arteries and high blood pressure. High blood sugar levels cause plaque to build up inside your arteries, increasing your risk of a heart attack. The plaque causes your arteries to be stiff and unable to dilate properly causing your heart to work harder to push blood through your sti and narrowed arteries—this is called high blood pressure. To keep your blood glucose levels in check, eat a diet focused on lean proteins, plenty of vegetables, some fruit, and nuts. Limit sugar, white rice and refined flours. Strength train twice a week; intense exercise helps to drive glucose out of your blood and into your muscles where it can be used for energy.
Exercise is a critical part of having a healthy heart. The benefits of a well-designed cardiovascular training routine are pretty obvious, but many don’t realize how important strength training is for heart health. It builds muscle and helps keep your weight down, and also makes your heart stronger.
Weight Control. Being overweight puts you at high risk for heart disease. When you carry around excess fat, your heart has to work harder. It enlarges as it works harder and becomes less efficient. Eventually, this reduction in e ciency culminates in heart disease. As you strength train, you increase the muscle mass in your body, which helps to burn o extra fat, easing the burden on your heart.
Strong Heart. High-Intensity Strength Training, like we do at MaxStrength Fitness, also increases your heart rate, which pushes your heart to become more efficient causing you to grow more capillaries. The result is a heart that is strong and efficient.
This February, make a decision to take care of your heart! If you need help getting your heart health optimized give us a call at 440.835.9090 or go to www.maxstrengthfitness.com to request your free initial consultation and demo workout today!