Heart diseases are one the leading causes of death among women. This is largely due to their passive lifestyle. Some steps taken early in life can strengthen the heart and prevent occurrence of heart diseases. Here are some tips for a healthy heart.
Most of us spend our lives running
from pillar to post, slaving at trying to improve our standard of living, looking after our family, or making sure our kids get to school on time. But how many of us spend even half an hour every day trying to improve our health, to make sure we are around to enjoy the reaps of what we have
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women around the world. More women die from heart diseases than breast cancer. While many men go on to survive a first and live healthy, long lives after that, not many women get a second chance.
The rate of women surviving a heart attack under the age of 50, is half
that of men. That is why it is imperative that women take steps to strengthen
their heart, starting now.
Cardiovascular exercises are those
that help strengthen the heart. Examples include brisk walking, jogging,
cycling and sports that require you to run around, like tennis. They work
by increasing the rate of your heartbeat. (Ever notice how your heart starts
beating faster after a run?) In order for your heart to get some serious
benefit, you need to maintain the increased rate of heartbeat for at least
20 minutes. So if you are walking briskly, maintain the speed for at least
20 minutes. Similarly, if you are jogging, jog for at least 20 minutes
before stopping for a rest. You may have to slowly build up to this. However,
you don't need to be able to run the marathon to be considered fit, though
marathon runners would beg to differ. Just follow the rule of four.
All your heart really needs is forty minutes of brisk walk, four times
While you don't have to cut down
on your meals, you do need to watch what you eat. Have a minimum of pastas,
white bread, cheese, refined rice, sugar and maida. If you are a rice eater,
stick to unrefined rice or brown rice. Reduce the amount of milk you drink.
The milk available in India has been obtained by giving cows hormonal injections
to increase their milk supply. The quality of milk gets affected. Similarly,
this milk is further adulterated and what you get in the end is simply
not worth ingesting.
And no matter what you feel, there
ARE other ways of increasing your calcium intake. Strong bones are not
built by calcium intake alone. You need to exercise, or the calcium will
just form deposits in the form of kidney stones.
Check your cholesterol levels. Your
cholesterol and triglycerides should be less than 150 mg/dl. If they are
higher, then aim at reducing them. If your HDL is low (below 60), aim at
increasing it. The cholesterol/HDL ratio should be 4 or less, and your
lipoprotein should be below 25 mg per deciliter. These are not just random
figures. If either of these numbers are not adding up, your risk of getting
a heart attack doubles.
Alcohol and Cigarettes
Those who drink occasionally are
less at a risk of contracting diseases than those who don't drink. Moderate
female drinkers, who drink around one drink a night, are slightly more
at risk of contracting heart diseases and heavy drinkers increase their
risk quite a bit. Smoking also increases the risk
of contracting heart diseases, and women smokers live less long than men
smokers. Quit smoking, and your risk of contracting a heart attack starts
falling almost instantly.
Other factors that increase your
risk of getting a heart attack:
High blood pressure
We take it easy, eat the wrong foods,
smoke and drink excessively, and only smarten up when disaster hits home.
Don't wait for that to happen. Take charge of your life, and of your health.
Your health should get first priority - even higher than your children.
After all, you want to be around for them, for a long, long time, don't
you? Today we focused on what you as a
woman can do to strengthen your heart. Check back tomorrow for information
on how to strengthen a man's heart.
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