February is Heart Month and a perfect time to get re-focused on your New Year's resolutions of getting fit and being healthy.
Contributing factors for heart disease come from tobacco smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, stress, diet and lack of exercise. Developing a healthy lifestyle is a very important factor in keeping your heart healthy.
The national movement called America on the Move has reported that Americans have become the most overweight nation in the world. According to the organization's website, www.americaonthemove.org, "More than 60 percent of American adults do not get the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a day ... 25 percent of American adults are not physically active at all ... the average American adult is gaining one to three pounds each year, and some people gain even more."
Obesity is a concern for health organizations because it affects all people regardless of gender, age or race, and it is a preventable disease. According to the New York State Department of Health (DOH), "Obesity is a contributor to many preventable chronic health conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, some cancers, arthritis and asthma." The DOH's website, www.health.state.ny.us, reports that by 2010, if this trend does not change, "the root cause of the obesity epidemic -- poor nutrition and physical inactivity -- will be among the leading underlying causes of preventable deaths in the United States."
A simple solution proposed by health organizations is to move more, eat less. Consult your doctor first and work with him/her on a sound diet and safe exercise program. Staying active and physically fit is essential for overall health and well-being. Doing at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at least three times a week can greatly reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
America on the Move promotes two small daily changes that will get you started on a new lifestyle: take 2,000 steps (about a mile) more each day and attempt to eat 100 fewer calories each day (which equals roughly a pat of butter). The State DOH recommends the following: choose a physical activity that you can enjoy, and that you'll stick with; be sure that the activity is sustained (15 to 20 minutes per session), and regular (at least three times per week); start slowly, and increase the amount or duration of activity gradually; join with others (friends, family, co-workers) to get and give support; and keep a record of your activity (distances, number of times per week, etc.) so you can measure your progress.
On Valentine's Day, February 14th, I will be hosting my annual Healthy Heart Day from 9 a.m. to noon at the Riverfront Center in Amsterdam. Some 40 health organizations will be on hand to discuss healthier lifestyles, give free samples, and offer free cholesterol tests, diabetes tests and more. I recommend you come and talk with them as a first step on the road to a healthier you. For more information, call my Amsterdam District Office at 843-2188.