Women are naturally caretakers. Ask any mom, spouse, businesswoman or caretaker; chances are, they rarely put their own needs first. But what would happen if you were suddenly too sick to take care of your family or go to work? The bottom line is prevention. You have to make time and invest in your own health — for yourself and the people who depend on you.
Go Red For Women wants you to consider your heart health at every age. Learn what you can do to prevent heart disease in your 40s with the following advice.
Strive for more balance and less stress.
Practice stress management techniques to reduce stress in your life every day. Take time to relax. Take 15 to 20 minutes a day to sit quietly, relax, breathe deeply and think of a peaceful situation. During this time, your body and mind can calm down and decompress. Worry less. The act of worrying can add a significant amount of stress onto our lives. Try to take deep breaths, repeat positive affirmations and adopt a positive outlook on your life.
Whatever it is, do something that can make the stress melt away.
Find physical activities you enjoy and stick with them.
By 40, some women have already made physical activity part of their daily life, but if you haven’t, it can seem like a chore. Between family and work, it may be difficult to make time for yourself, but it is critical for your health. Regular physical activity (40 minutes three to four times per week) can improve your blood pressure and HDL “good” cholesterol, reduce your chances of developing diabetes, and strengthen your heart. Jogging and yoga are great activities to keep you heart healthy. You can also incorporate core strengthening exercises once a week to help prevent core weakening, which happens as we age. Still not sure you can find a way to boost your daily activity? Try these 10 tips for daily exercise.
Eat heart-healthy meals.
Whenever you eat or are cooking for yourself or your family, have meals that help maintain your heart health. They can still be delicious! Focus on including foods that are nutrient-dense like colorful veggies and fruits, fiber-rich, whole-grains, lean meats, skinless chicken and fish rich in omega-3s, and fat-free, 1 percent fat and low-fat dairy. These foods can give your heart the nutrients it needs as well as improve your cholesterol and blood pressure. Try one of Go Red For Women’s heart-healthy recipes and get more expert tips to eat healthy.
Get regular checkups.
In addition to blood pressure checkups and other heart-health screenings, you should have your blood sugar level tested by the time you’re 45. This first test serves as a baseline for future tests, which you should have every three years. Here are the tests you should have:
- Weight and Body Mass Index
- Waist Circumference
- Blood Pressure
- Heart Exam
- Fasting Blood Glucose
Get enough sleep.
Your quality of sleep can impact your heart health. The American Heart Association recommends adults get six to eight hours of sleep per night. Are you getting enough? If not, try to move your schedule around to accommodate a restful night’s sleep or try these tips to improve your sleep.
Learn more ways to prevent heart disease on Go Red For Women.