Everyone knows heart health is vital. Yet, more than 600,000 Americans die of heart disease every year — or one in every four deaths — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
By arming yourself with information about nutrition, fitness and lifestyle choices, you can reduce your risk for heart disease.
From picking protein-rich foods that are low in saturated fat to snoozing for the optimal amount of time each night, here are some valuable tips to keep your ticker happy:
* Get your protein from foods that are low in saturated fat.
While a good steak or hamburger can be enjoyable, it is also high in saturated fat. Better choices are fish, poultry and nuts. If you want something even lighter, consider a protein shake. The Bowflex Body French Vanilla Fitness Shake (www.bowflexbody.com), for instance, offers 15 grams of protein per serving and a scant 1 gram of saturated fat. An added bonus is that these shakes activate the metabolism and help build muscle, burn calories and boost energy.
* Put down the smartphone. In today’s world of 24/7 connectivity, it’s important to unplug from work, email and devices for at least an hour a day. This helps reduce stress, which is important for keeping your blood pressure and heart rate levels from going too high.
* Get some rest. Experts recommend aiming for around seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Consistently getting too few or too many zzz’s can be unhealthy.
* Move your body. A recent study from the University of Cambridge determined that inactivity is more dangerous to your body than obesity. There are limitless activities to get your heart pumping, such as walking, swimming or biking, to name a few. Looking for a workout you can do at home? The Bowflex TreadClimber (www.treadclimber.com) combines the motions of a treadmill, a stair climber and an elliptical for a comfortable low-impact workout that delivers high-impact results.
* Free your inner social butterfly. Better yet, work out with a buddy to help keep you motivated and on track. Research shows that having a strong social network and spending time with others can help reduce blood pressure and other heart disease-related factors.
“Even small steps, like adding one strength-training workout a week, can make a big impact,” says Tom Holland, Bowflex Fitness Advisor and “Beat the Gym” author. “Plus, the Internet is a great resource to find more tips and information.”