According to the American Heart Association (AHA), being healthy is simple. They’ve outlined seven simple health behaviors that they think can tell you how healthy, or unhealthy, your lifestyle is. Take a look at these health behaviors and see how you measure up.
What Are They For?
The American Heart Association created this metric in an attempt to improve America’s cardiovascular health 20 percent by 2020 and to reduce deaths related to cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke, by 20 percent by 2020.
The seven steps are supposed to help you identify the health factors and lifestyle behaviors to work toward in order to improve your heart health.
It’s no secret that smoking is bad for you, and if you’re a smoker or have ever smoked it can have a lasting impact on your health. The first simple step is to identify cardiovascular risks by assessing your smoking habits. If you’ve never smoked or quit more than a year ago, that’s what the AHA wants!
The Body Mass Index
Obesity is a problem in the United States and something that has a large impact on cardiovascular health. The aim is to have a BMI or Body Mass Index of less than 25, which is reported to be a healthy weight. You can find BMI calculators online to see how you measure up.
Exercise is good for more than just your figure; it’s good for your heart too. It is recommended that everyone get 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week or 75 minutes of intense exercise per week. How much exercise are you currently getting?
The key components to a healthy diet are:
- Using as many calories as you eat every day.
- Eating a variety of nutritious foods from all the food groups daily.
- Eat less junk, or nutrient-poor, food.
How many of these are you meeting?
Your total cholesterol should be less than 200 mg/dL. Your diet and your level of exercise can have a big impact on your cholesterol levels. If they aren’t in the healthy range, discuss what you can do about it with a medical professional.
High blood pressure is bad for your blood vessels, so maintaining a healthy blood pressure is important. You should strive to have a blood pressure under 120/80 mm Hg. If it’s regularly higher than that it could lead to big health problems.
Your blood sugar indicates how well your body responds to insulin and can turn the sugar you eat into energy. If you are overweight or obese, you may have issues with your blood sugar which should be below 100 mg/dL when fasting.
So, how are you measuring up with the simple seven? Identify areas you can make improvements and hopefully, this will pave the way to a long and healthy life for you!
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