During American Heart Month, the American Heart Association encourages people to do seven simple things to reduce their risk of heart disease. Called Life’s Simple 7, the program includes four ideal health behaviors and three ideal health factors. These measures all have one thing in common: they are simple to understand, but require a commitment and hard work to achieve.
- Don’t smoke
- Eat better
- Get active
- Lose weight
- Control cholesterol
- Maintain a normal blood pressure
- Reduce blood sugar
Here are a few thoughts about Life’s Simple 7:
Quit smoking: The two most important things for quitting smoking are to be ready and ask for help. Smoking is an addiction, and you have to want to quit if you are to be successful. Most people cannot quit on their own, but there are programs and treatments that can tip the odds in your favor. Penn Medicine has a Comprehensive Smoking Treatment Program or you can try the Quitline at 800-QUITNOW.
Get active: There are many barriers to a successful exercise program, but they are nearly always beatable. One of the most common barriers is a lack of time. To cross this barrier, block out a regular amount of time during the day, instead of exercising when time allows it. Another common barrier is consistency. Don’t get discouraged when you don’t see the pounds melting off right away. DON’T GIVE UP. It is better to be “fat and fit” than “fat and unfit.” In fact, there is scientific proof that being “fat and fit” is healthier than “thin and unfit.” In other words, the chubby jogger is healthier than the skinny couch potato.
Lose weight and eat better: Fad diets don’t work. When you are trying to lose weight, it is important to choose a diet and exercise program that focuses strongly on developing lifelong health eating and exercise habits.
Achieve health and wellness: Health and wellness is not only a state of the body, but a state of mind. Getting healthy does not start with action, it starts with attitude. The most important thing to achieve a healthy body and mind is to be honest with yourself, identify your weaknesses, and be honest with your health care provider.
Penn Medicine also has a comprehensive Preventive Cardiovascular Program that offers a wide range of services to individuals looking to learn what their risk is for cardiovascular disease or those who currently suffer from cardiovascular disease and are seeking optimal medical therapy.