Take one step toward heart health

Valley View Healthview

Approximately 80 percent of heart disease is preventable. Even so, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of Americans. Heart disease is progressive, meaning it starts out at birth and anybody at any time could experience a life changing cardiovascular event such as stroke or heart attack. Early intervention saves lives when it comes to heart disease. So how do you protect yourself?

Exercise is a vital part of preventing heart disease. “The most important thing we know you can do for your health is exercise,” said Richard Bradley, Cardiac Rehabilitation Supervisor at Valley View Hospital. This doesn’t mean you need to join a gym or start running 5Ks to get your heart healthy. Walking 30 minutes a day for five days a week can significantly reduce your risks of heart disease. That “thirty minutes of exercise can be broken up into three 10-minute blocks of time throughout the day and will have the same health benefit.” This means an extra trip up and down the stairs at work, or walking down a few more aisles at the grocery store is all you would need to reach one 10-minute block of time.

Exercise can be daunting for someone who has experienced a life-changing cardiovascular event. However, “Exercise is not the problem. In most cases exercise is safe, your body wants to move, elevate heart rate and blood pressure to be healthy.” Richard and his team educate patients to identify their risk factors for heart disease, while providing them dietary and exercise guidelines. The healthy living practices taught by the Cardiac Rehabilitation team are universal, the apparently healthy person on the street would benefit from the information.

The following are a few tips to reducing your risk of heart disease:

Exercise five days a week for 30 minutes

Control your risk factors: Identify risk factors that are modifiable such as physical inactivity, smoking, diet and stress

Recognize signs and symptoms: This is not only good for you, but being able to recognize the signs and symptoms of cardiovascular issues can save the lives of others

Know your numbers: Knowing your cholesterol and blood pressure numbers puts you at a lower risk of heart disease. Optimal blood pressure should be 120/80 or below. Cholesterol total should be less than 200

Taking steps towards reducing your risk of heart disease does not have to be all or nothing. Simply getting out and walking is a great place to start. February is American Heart Month, a perfect time to make the necessary lifestyle changes to stay heart healthy.

To learn more about how the Cardiac Rehabilitation team at Valley View can help you identify your risk factors, dietary and exercise guidelines, call 970-384-7290.