A few months ago, we were reminded during “heart month” about how heart disease kills way too many women. As the seasons change and some of us feel reinvigorated to revamp their diets and routine, we want to urge you to remember these super-simple steps to reduce your chances of heart disease. By employing these easy strategies, you’re helping to make sure you don’t wind up a statistic.
1. Engage in at least 30 minutes of structured physical activity, 5 days/week. This isn’t for weight loss but basic heart health. Whatever exercise you like — walking, cycling, weight lifting, swimming — works, though variety is ideal. No matter how busy you are, everyone has the time, so try to make it!
2. Stand up. Sitting is the new smoking. Where can you find time in your day to stand and move , beyond structured physical activity? Maybe rather than watching TV, you go for a family walk before or after dinner. Start a walking group at work or investigate stand-up desks if you work at home. If you have dogs, take them for a walk instead just letting them out back. There are a lot of opportunities to move — you just need to be creative, take control and make a conscious effort to make you a priority.
3. Eat more omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats are amazing for us. The best way to get them in the diet is from foods like wild seafood (salmon, tuna, sardines, anchovies), among others. Read more
According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 440,000 Americans lose their lives every year to smoking related illnesses. On top of that, for one death, 20 more live with serious illnesses from smoking and 8 million Americans suffer from chronic diseases caused from smoking. With stats like these it’s not surprising that 70 percent of smokers say they want to quit.
This sparked the CDC to launch the first anti-smoking campaign funded by the U.S. government, Tips from Former Smokers. Due to the response and success of the campaign the CDC is launching a second phase this month, with more personal stories from smokers and how the habit has hurt their health, their family and their lives. We got the chance to chat with Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health on how smoking affects more than just the person doing it, and how you can help a friend, family member or yourself quit for good.
This campaign if pretty graphic. What made the CDC decide to go this route?
This campaign is the first that the federal government has funded since the 50thAnniversary of the first Surgeon General’s report in 1964, although separate states have run campaigns consistently. We felt that we needed the ads to get a visual point across so we could be a counterweight to the tobacco industry’s promotion. They are spending $8.5 billion a year on promotion, so it’s a steep climb to compete with. This is not something you can do once and then it’s done with, people need to hear it and see it regularly to really register with them.
With this phase of the campaign we address several conditions linked to smoking, although there are so many more. We have a story about diabetes and smoking, as well as someone with COPD and someone who suffered serious lung damage from secondhand smoke exposure. The first time around we stuck to the impact of smoking on the smoker, this time we’re focusing on the impact on those around a smoker. Read more
You know by now that February is American Heart Month…but since heart disease is the #1 killer in America and this month is a shorty, it’s worth reminding you about some healthy foods that can lower your risk:
1. “Good” Fat. The low fat craze in the early 90‘s had it all wrong. Our favorite healthy fats are olive, canola and fish oil. The last you can’t cook with, but the first two are great to use in place of less healthy options like soybean oil, shortening, or margarine.
As for fish oil, there are a lot of data suggesting adding fish oil — AKA omega 3 fat — can drastically improve health, including the health of your heart. In our house we use, like, and trust Nordic Naturals — our children (a 3 ½ and 1 year-old) both take it daily.
2. Dark Chocolate. The key is picking a quality dark chocolate; we use 100% raw cacao if baking or making hot chocolate. (Aim for 70%+ cacao if eating it by itself, which it usually tells you on bar). Dark chocolate can help improve cholesterol, circulation, and insulin resistance, while reducing blood pressure.
3. Eggs. Say what? The “high in cholesterol” whole eggs? Absolutely. Here’s the sunny side of eggs—we love the data on how eating eggs can help you lose weight. One study compared subjects eating a bagel breakfast vs. an equal amount of calories from eggs. The result? The egg group lost almost twice as much weight and had an 83 percent greater decrease in their waistlines.
-Chris and Kara Mohr, mohrresults.com
All it takes is a looming deadline or spat with your roommate to get your heart pumping, but when it comes to the beat, which places have a higher heart rate? Azumio, mobile health app developer of programs like Cardio Buddy, Fitness Buddy and Sleep Time pulled some data from their heart monitor app Instant Heart Rate across 159 countries, 6 million data points and 500,000 users. Take a look below to see which countries and states are really the most frazzled, plus some other interesting findings:
- Too much on our plate? According to Azmuio’s data, the average global heart rate for women is 79.83 beats per minute (bpm). For men, it’s 74.02 bpm.
- When it comes to countries, India had the highest average heart rate at 80.5 bpm with the U.K. clocking in as the lowest at 71.9 bpm. The U.S. has an average heart rate of 77.3 bpm.
- The U.S. cities with the highest heart rate are Dallas (81.4 bpm), Atlanta (81.2 bpm), Houston (80.8 bpm) and Los Angeles (80.5 bpm).
But don’t be fooled–stress isn’t the only factor that can spike your heart rate. Factors like smoking, caffeine and some health issues like thyroid disease all play a part. Find your resting heart rate by using your index and middle finger to find your pulse on your inner wrist. Count the beats for 10 seconds and multiply that number by six. If you’re between 60 to 80 bpm, that’s considered normal.
More from FITNESS Magazine: How Healthy Are You? 10 Easy Self-Checks
This week’s fit links from around the web:
- We love the name title “Shrinko de Mayo” almost as much as we love the dishes and drinks that received a nutritional makeover for the holiday! — Iowa Girl Eats
- The search for the elusive bounce-free sports bra ends here. — Vital Juice
- What does a CrossFit workout really look like? See one Bob Harper loves here. — Carrots ‘N’ Cake
- Try just one of these 20 simple calorie-cutting tricks each day to lose two pounds in one month! — iVillage
- Shh…the ingredient that makes these desserts so moist is our little secret. — Fit Sugar
- Time for a girls night—for your health! Having a lonely heart can actually damage your ticker. —Yahoo! Shine
Celebrity chef and past contestant of Bravo’s Top Chef Season 4 Spike Mendelsohn spends his days running from kitchen to kitchen and tasting a whole lot of food. So to be diagnosed with acid reflux disease (ARD), a condition characterized by constant heartburn despite diet and lifestyle changes was more than frustrating for him. That’s why he’s partnered with the Dexilant, a prescription medication that can help manage ARD to launch Don’t Let It Burn, a campaign centered around helping those who suffer from the condition learn how to lower the heat. Read below to see how Spike deals with his ARD, a tasty burger recipe that won’t trigger heartburn and how to enter to win a chance to cook with Spike!
What made you decide to be a part of the Don’t Let It Burn campaign?
Being a chef is a pretty stressful lifestyle. Between my job and constantly tasting different foods these factors trigger my ARD. I’ve learned it’s something you need to understand and manage, which is why I joined the campaign.
Before you had ARD, did you know that was the issue?
I was one of those guys that thought I just had bad heartburn occasionally, but once I met with my doctor and got more information I knew it was ARD. Not only that, but 19 million people also have it, which is pretty crazy if you don’t know how to manage it!
ARD can definitely affect your work in the kitchen, but do you find it also affects your daily routine?
Absolutely. I am an avid coffee drinker, as most chefs are. That was a big trigger for me so I had to learn to cut back on the cups.
Read on for a heartburn-proof turkey burger recipe and a chance to get Spike in your kitchen!
Written by Brittany Vickers, editorial intern
Do you think you could burn a billion calories? You might need a little help–but the American Heart Association (AHA) has you covered.
With over 300 scheduled Heart Walks taking place in 2012, the AHA is determined to help Americans on the path to collectively burn more than one billion calories before 2020. The national campaign is called the Billion Calorie Count-UP, and leading the way alongside the AHA is Olympic softball gold medalist Jennie Finch.
“As an athlete I know how important being fit is,” Finch told FITNESS in an exclusive interview during the official kick-off event. “I also know how much motivation it takes to stay fit!”
Now retired from softball, Finch has a new role as a mother of two boys. She has had to find different incentives to stay healthy and active since hanging up her mitt. “Working out used to be my job. Now it’s my priority,” she says.
The AHA aims to help Americans walk towards a healthier life. The president-elect of the AHA, Donna Arnett, shared some sad stats about America’s current fitness state.
“Heart disease is so preventable,” Arnett says. “If you make it to 50 years old and you have a normal blood sugar and cholesterol level your chance of heart disease is five percent. Only one percent of our population fits into that category.”
So the AHA has its sites set on improving America’s overall health and heart disease prevention by 20 percent by 2020! And it all starts with a simple 30-minute walk per day. It’s not always easy to get started, but as Jennie told us, when you have a team to work with it suddenly becomes much easier. After running her first marathon she raved about the success of a running group.
Having a finish line or goal to work toward, and someone to work toward it with, can create a level of fun to the challenge of being healthy. The AHA is organizing walking groups and community walking paths across the country for anyone who’s looking to join! Head to the website, heart.org, to find a heart walk, trail or group in your area.
There are lots of reasons you should be eating chocolate, even if you are on a diet. Just an ounce a day helps your skin, prevents heart disease and can instantly boost your mood. But now there is another reason to let yourself indulge a little bit, for charity. Just in time for Easter basket purchases, Lindt Chocolate is teaming up with Autism Speaks to help raise awareness of the developmental disability that affects 1 in 110 American children. Here’s how you can help:
- Between now and Easter, April 8, buy a Lindt Gold Bunny, and Lindt will donate 10 cents for every purchase to Autism Speaks.
- For every Easter e-card sent from lindtgoldbunny.com, Lindt will donate $1.
- Cast your bid at the Lindt Gold Bunny Celebrity Auction, where 70 porcelain bunnies signed by celebs like Jennifer Garner, Julie Bowen, Katherine Heigl and other A-listers will be auctioned off at lindtgoldbunnyauction.com from March 8 to 18.
- Repin any of Lindt’s Easter-related pins on Pinterest (and follow us on Pinterest too while you’re at it!) and Lindt will donate up to $10,000 for your pinning efforts.
So there you have it, eating chocolate can not only help you, but also give back at the same time. Plus, can you really resist the cuteness of those little gold bunnies?
More from FITNESS: The Secret Health Benefits of Chocolate
Before you go off and celebrate Fat Tuesday, you might want to read these shocking stats first. According to the American Heart Association someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds, with 1 in 3 women being at risk for heart disease.
That’s why Jenny Craig celebrity brand ambassador Mariah Carey is partnering up with the AHA in its healthy living initiative, My Heart. My Life. They’ve set a goal to reduce Americans’ risk for cardiovascular disease by 20 percent by 2020. To help, Jenny will be launching My Heart. My Life. My Jenny, which will help educate the public on weight-related diseases including cardiovascular issues and stroke. Check out the first PSA with Mariah below and then then get moving! You can sign up for one of 350 AHA walks around the country in 2012, get training plans, heart-healthy tips and more at jennycraig.com.
For more information on My Heart. My Life visit myheartmylife.org.
Written by Kate Branciforte, editorial intern
It’s Valentine’s Day and we all know what that means—a day filled with flowers, cards and showing others just how much you care for them. But remember, you need to show yourself a little love too! February is American Heart Month, and the American Heart Association has released a one-of-a-kind Heart Health Forever Stamp to remind you how to be heart-healthy.
In addition to a new design, the stamps also come with heart-health prevention tips. Each sheet includes suggestions for how to eat well, manage stress, fit in exercise and successfully deal with health screenings.
“Prevention is the key to eliminating heart attacks and strokes,” U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, M.D said at a recent press event. “We are giving Americans information and tools to make healthier choices to prevent tobacco use, access healthy food and find enjoyable ways to get regular exercise.”
There are 50 million of the 45-cent stamps available nationwide for sale in sheets of 20. Purchases can be made at most post offices, or at usps.com/shop.
And don’t forget to tune into weight-loss reality show The Biggest Loser tonight: Benjamin and Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe have teamed up with the popular show to help spread the word about these heart-helpful stamps. A new “Watch it. Write it. Win it,” 11-week sweepstakes launches during the show and amazing prizes are up for grabs: an all-expense paid trip to the Biggest Loser Ranch, four weeks of Biggest Loser-prepared meals delivered straight to your door, or two tickets (plus airfare!) to the show’s season 13 finale. All viewers have to do is send letters of encouragement to their favorite The Biggest Loser contestant(s). The more you send, the better the odds of winning—as long as they arrive separately and addressed to one contestant at a time, one letter guarantees one entry and there is no submission limit. Time to put your writing skills to the test!
For more information about the sweepstakes, visit usps.com/biggestloser.
More from FITNESS:
- Drink To Your Health: The Heart-Healthy Benefits of Wine
- How to Eat for a Healthy Heart
- Minka Kelly Shares Her Heart Healthy Fitness and Diet Tips