This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Heart Truth®. All opinions are 100% mine.
There was a time when I didn’t give a second thought to my heart health. I was young, always held jobs that kept me fairly active (paper routes, working in large corporate buildings that required lots of walking, to get from my cubicle to the restroom, cafeteria, main entrance, etc.). Since the majority of the (little) money that I made went to paying bills, daycare expenses, and gas for my car, I ate canned vegetables and fruit cups for lunch while at work to save money.
While my jobs were stressful, I always made time after work to relax, and I consistently got 7-8 hours of sleep each night. At the time, I had no idea that these activities that were second nature to me were helping to keep my heart healthy.
Fast-forward eight years, and my ‘routine’ has drastically changed. In fact, so much so that it is pretty much non-existent. Working from home means I only have to walk a few paces to get to my work desk each day, and I don’t have a timesheet to force me to take scheduled work breaks or lunches.
I oftentimes find myself sitting at the computer for several hours at a time – sometimes most of the day. The only ‘real’ walking I do is from my door to the car to drive my kids to and from school – and since their schools are all on the other side of town, that’s even more sitting for long periods of time.
Since the fridge and food pantry are both easily accessible, I eat what I want – as much as I want – throughout the day. I usually pick processed foods because they’re faster than trying to cook up some vegetables or slice up some fruit. As a result, I’ve seen the weight pile on, having to buy new clothes in larger sizes. My sleep schedule has changed, too: If I get 3-4 hours of sleep in any given night, it’s a miracle.
Balancing work and home while at home is super stressful as well. With so much to do in a day, downtime is a rarity for me, and there are very few moments when I feel completely at ease – there’s always something that’s worrying my mind.
All of the factors above – lack of physical activity, proper diet, and sleep, being overweight and high levels of stress – are dangerously affecting my heart health. The truth is, I know it. I know it all too well. And I also know that because of the history of heart conditions in my family and the risk factors for heart disease in women, I need to stop bad habits now and make changes in order to safeguard my heart health before it’s too late.
Truth About Heart Health
The Heart Truth:
- Heart disease is the #1 killer of women.
- Of the women who died in 2013 (the latest data available), one in four women in the United States died of heart disease.
- Eighty percent of women ages 40 to 60 have one or more risk factors for heart disease.
- Risk factors are conditions or habits that make a person more likely to develop a disease. The risk factors for heart disease are:
High blood pressure
High blood cholesterol
Diabetes and prediabetes
Being overweight or obese (BMI of 25 or greater)
Being physically inactive (less than 2.5 hours of physical activity per week)
Having a family history of early heart disease
Having a history of preeclampsia during pregnancy
Age (55 or older for women)
Truth About Heart Health
Now that I’m in my 40’s I need to stop the act of simply talking about heart health and really *be* about heart health. I need to make a routine for adequate amounts of sleep and exercise.
I need to schedule moments in my day, week, and month for real downtime. I need to do things daily to help minimize my stress levels (in other words: I’m not superwoman and I can’t do it all: I need to delegate and ask for help when I need it). I need to make better, healthier choices for meals *and* snacks while at the grocery store. Most importantly, I need to get myself back to a healthy weight.
All of this is much more than the advice #FromTheHeart that I give to myself during this Heart Health Month – it is advice that I give to all of the women in my life that I love. My sister, my friends and family. As women, it is important that we *do* the things that we know we should do to protect ourselves from developing heart conditions now and in the future.
Not only am I putting my own advice #FromTheHeart into action in my own life, I’m also committed to helping my family and friends with their heart health as well. I’ve decided to give gifts #FromTheHeart this year such as planning get-togethers at my home for a healthy dinner, or even meeting up at a restaurant that offers heart-healthy dining options. For those who live far away, I’ll pass along any heart-healthy recipes or exercise tips that I find across the web.
When it gets right down to it, the truth is that there is no reason for me to not be doing that things I should do to live a healthier lifestyle in order to control my own personal risk for heart disease and other heart conditions. From this point forward, I pledge to live a life based on my heart truth. I also pledge to encourage other women to do the same and get the truth about heart health.
Truth About Heart Health
I have lost relatives due to heart disease. That’s why I make sure I take care of mine because I have two girls to raise and I would rather not have the complications that they had. Thanks for the information about heart health.
It blows my mind that the number one killer of women is still somehow associate with men. Heart disease is vicious to women.
working on the first two – the high blood pressure and the high cholesterol – also the overweight 🙂
Oh this is an important discussion to have, my heart isn’t so hot lately. I have struggles with blood pressure that scares me also heart palpations that won’t stay regular enough for a doc to diagnose. Thanks for sharing more about this subject!
Fantastic post on heart health. It is something all women need to be aware of in their busy existance.
Awareness about heart disease is so important. It’s so much more common than I thought.
I really have to start keeping heart health in mind when making healthy choices.Heart disease is too common to ignore!
My goal this year is to sleep more and move more. I’ve been using a Fitbit to keep myself accountable for both of these goals. I love the fact that it not only helps me track how active I was but it also helps me see how much sleep I was getting…or rather, how much sleep I was NOT getting. When I realized I was only sleeping about 4 hours a night it made sense why I was tired all the time.
Ug! Working from home has changed so much for me. I really am more sedentary and have to get out more! Thanks for all these good reminders.
My schedule and lifestyle are just like yours, in terms of sleep and sitting all day.
I’ve been working to change that. Sometimes I park further away, so I have no choice but to walk additional steps.
Being aware to heart issues is so important, That’s why I always keep in mind that I need to pay attention when it comes to this.
This is great info. I really don’t ever think about heart health and that needs to stop. This is so important.
WOW your routine sounds exactly like mine right now. The only exercise I get is typing .. I have some strong fingers…and taxi-driving my kiddos from school to extra curriculars to church and home. Definitely need to be more intentional about walking
I have been working hard to get into better shape and lose weight. I bought a fitness tracker and it really helps. I had no idea the statistics were so high for heart disease.
These stats always surprise me as a woman. I work hard to stay healthy, great reminders
Heart health became very much at the forefront of my mind when my sister was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. It had been undiagnosed for 40 years! Now we are much more in-tune with our hearts and overall health.
I have to keep these things in mind and need to start work-out to remain in shape! Thanks for sharing great info!!
I have more of these risk factors than I’d like. Some I can control like my weight and others I can’t. I need to make some changes.
These are really important tips to keep in mind. Heart health is so important.