Heart Health is all about the Choices We Make

Cardiovascular disease is epidemic in our modern society. Sedentary lifestyles and jobs that demand forty hours sitting at a desk in front of a computer have taken a toll on our national health statistics. However, you don’t have to be just another number on a graph and you can do it without the workouts of an olympic gymnast. Chances are, it’s easier than you think to make some modifications to your routine that will increase your energy and decrease your risk for disease. Once you incorporate a few small changes into your everyday life and begin to feel the difference they make, you will undoubtedly want to make more and find yourself on the path to a healthier, richer life. Being healthy, it turns out, is addictive!


Physical activity is an important part of maintaining good general health, and you don’t have to spend hours in the gym to make a meaningful difference. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible is an example of a relatively minor change that turns a passive experience into an active one. Once you start to pay attention to how many times you enter a lift instead of marching up the steps you will clearly see how much “easy” exercise you can incorporate into your already established routine.


Do you break for lunch at work? Instead of jumping in your coworkers car to drive a couple blocks to the sandwich shop, why not walk? Seek out the times in your daily life that find you being idle and see if you can find a way to energize those moments and transform them into physically productive events. It is recommended that a person should engage in 150 minutes of moderately challenging physical activity a week. While that number looks daunting as a lump sum, two or three ten minute sessions of moderately challenging activity a day can add up!


Of course, it goes without saying that proper diet is the second half of a healthy lifestyle. Life moves fast, and balanced meals are rarely on the menu. Eating, instead of being seen as a way to feed your body the fuel it needs to meet peak performance, has been downgraded to just something we have to do between all the more important things we have to do. As a result, the quality of our intake suffers. Meal planning is a good way to eat healthy while still maintaining a full schedule. Take some time on the weekend to make your meals for the week. Choose healthy foods you enjoy personally, not what you THINK you should have. Food can be nutritious and delicious at the same time, and eating well doesn’t have to be laborious. You can make a big pile of plain chicken on the weekend, but that doesn’t mean you have to eat plain chicken all week. Flavor them differently. Put some in a sandwich. Marinate some with your favorite spices. Make a salad. Keeping things interesting is one of the most important parts of sticking to a new routine. Boredom kills willpower.


Bringing a healthy lunch and snacks to work opens up even more possibilities. Taking your lunch break outdoors in a park instead of at your desk can be greatly rejuvenating. It seems unrealistic, but once junk food has been eliminated from your diet for a certain amount of time you no longer crave it. You will have replaced the empty satisfaction of a quick fast food burger and fries with the pride and energy that comes with even a few small tweaks to better your personal health!


Derek Walborn