(StatePoint) Heart disease and stroke cause one in three deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds. While there are many risk factors involved that are beyond one’s control, a healthy lifestyle can make a big difference.
February is American Heart Month and a great opportunity to adopt healthy habits that can reduce your risk for illness. Here are five to consider.
• Move about: Exercise doesn’t have to be daunting! Aim for 10-minute sessions, three times daily. Movement sets your metabolism in motion, so make sure it’s a consistent part of your life.
• Get sleep: Sleeping fewer than seven hours a night can make you gain weight and have more trouble taking it off, according to Columbia University research. Another study found that people who get enough sleep have a five percent higher metabolism than people who don’t. That means more calories burned while you’re sleeping! Doesn’t get much easier than that.
• Eat small and well: “Studies have found that losing five to 10 percent of your body weight can lower the risk of a heart attack,” says Dawn Zier, CEO of Nutrisystem and the 2017 Go Red for Women Campaign Chair in Philadelphia, a movement to help end heart disease and stroke in women.
Research suggests that eating smaller, balanced meals throughout the day promotes greater weight loss and maintenance, and can also be good for your heart. Schedule meals every two to three hours, six times a day. Programs designed to help you eat healthy portions can mean seeing quick results. For example, Nutrisystem Lean13 is a new program designed to help you lose up to 13 pounds and seven inches in the first month. For more information visit nutrisystem.com.
• Rise, shine, drink water. You’ll burn more calories all day: A German study found that drinking 48 ounces (about six cups) of cold water increased calorie burn at rest by up to 50 calories per day. This alone could melt a pound in a little more than two months. And drinking it before meals could give you an added bonus, as a Virginia Tech study found that dieters who drank two, eight-ounce glasses of water before meals for 12 weeks lost 36 percent more weight than those who didn’t down the water.
• Put your phone away: Checking your email in the morning will just stress you out. Many productivity experts recommend waiting at least an hour once you get to work before checking your inbox, so you can tackle your most important priorities calmly without getting distracted.
This American Heart Month, take steps to improve your health and reduce your risk for serious illness.