Your heart works hard for you your whole life, so it makes sense to care of it as much as possible. Making small changes can make a real difference to your health. Some say that a healthy heart is like finding the fountain of youth. People who take care of their heart not only live longer, but they also enjoy a better quality of life without cardiovascular disease.
Your heart is a very important muscle in your body. If you’re young, you may think that you don’t need to worry about heart disease, but having a healthy heart is an important consideration at any stage of life. Heart disease is a leading cause of death; there are some key steps you can take to reduce your risk of high blood pressure, a heart attack, and heart disease.
Here are 5 easy-to-implement strategies you can start doing right away to take care of your heart.
1. Check your blood pressure regularly.
High blood pressure is the most preventable cause of heart disease. (Smoking is the number 1). In the past, a reading of 140/90 was considered high. However, new guidelines have reduced those numbers. Now, anything above 130/80 is considered high. It is best to check your blood pressure at least once a year.
2. Stop smoking.
Smoking is the cause of one out of every three deaths contributed to heart disease, according to a report by the Surgeon General on Smoking and Health. Smoking is associated with a whole host of health problems, but when it comes to the heart, it increases plaque build up in the arteries, contributes to the formation of blood clots and raises blood pressure. Quitting offers a whole host of benefits for your heart, some of which are immediate.
3. Reduce your salt intake.
It can be difficult to lower your salt consumption while on the road, especially if you eat a lot of processed and fast foods. Try to eat more fresh foods and limit your intake of sodium to less than 1500 mg per day.
4. Have regular check-ups with your doctor.
This is one of the hardest things for truck drivers, who are away on trips so often. But it’s important for you to take time when you are home to have an annual physical. Regular health exams and tests can identify problems before they start. They can also help find problems early, when they are easier to treat. Take the time to get screenings, health services and treatment and you will be rewarded with living a longer, healthier life. Three screenings you should especially pay attention to are your blood pressure numbers, cholesterol level and diabetes screening.
5. Exercise regularly.
If you’ve been a regular on the AAOO website, you’ve heard about how you need to exercise. But don’t let that intimidate you if you haven’t gotten on the workout band wagon yet. All you need to do is start moving and start a habit that will help you live longer. You want to achieve healthy longevity, not necessarily a certain cholesterol number. It’s about getting aware, active and vital into your older age, and being free of a debilitating disease. Truckers can achieve this by being active every day, like walking, stretching and doing simple exercises.
The best way to take care of yourself – and your heart – is to create a healthy lifestyle as best you can, despite long hours spent driving in your rig. The good news about following a heart healthy lifestyle is that it’s also beneficial for your overall health. When you keep your heart healthy, you’ll also feel good – and help yourself feeling good for years to come.