For many years now, heart disease has been on the rise. It wasn’t log ago that heart disease was most common in elderly people, but as the years pass, the ages of people who develop heart conditions keeps dropping. People in their 30s are now being diagnosed with one heart condition or another. What’s going on? It’s our mostly sedentary, high stress lives and poor diets that put us most at risk.
Although our physicians seem to constantly be chiding us on following a healthy lifestyle and getting regular exercise, so many of us don’t listen to this good advice. Today, it’s important to understand that heart disease can strike you even at a relatively young age. Keeping a healthy heart should be a lifelong pursuit which begins in childhood. Let’s take a look at the ABCs of a healthy heart.
If you take a look at the statistics regarding heart disease over the past several decades, it becomes apparent that a healthy heart does have a relationship to exercise. Up until the 1980s and early 1990s, kids were far more active than they are today. Riding bikes, participation in sports and playground activities were part of a kid’s daily life.
As the couch potato syndrome developed, along with time spent at the PC and video games becoming the norm, kids became less inclined to get out in the fresh air after school, opting instead to sit in front of the tube or computer, adopting a sedentary lifestyle while still in their teens. It’s also notable that physical education is now an optional, not mandatory, class.
As parents, we need to insist that kids engage in regular, physical exercise on a daily basis. If you look at the statistics on overweight kids, a lack of sufficient exercise is one of the major culprits. As adults, we need to impose the same rules for ourselves – setting a good example, as well as keeping ourselves fit and avoiding heart problems down the road.
While we enjoy many benefits and amenities of the modern day, there are also inherent the pitfalls. For example, we all know that fast food and highly refined and processed food are rife with much more fats, sugars, additives and a host of preservatives which certainly do nothing to promote a healthy heart. Sure, we all indulge in the occasional ‘pizza night’ or fast food dinner to accommodate busy schedules, but this should not become the daily dietary practice.
Freshly prepared meals, which are low in saturated and trans fatty acid, along with those daily, 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables, go a long way towards keeping a healthy heart healthy. When you make wholesome meals the rule, rather than the exception, you’re much less likely to develop a heart condition at an early age. In fact, when you make regular exercise and a healthy diet a lifelong practice, chances are good that you’ll maintain a healthy heart well into your old age!