Important Lessons We Can Learn from Our Parents’ Heart Health
The more things change, the more they remain the same. This statement couldn’t be truer when talking about heart health issues over the years. In the 60’s and 70’s, there was a major smoking issue among adults. In contemporary times, with all the knowledge we’ve amassed on the dangers of smoking and the essence of working out, we still suffer from heart health complications; albeit, in reduced numbers.
Our lifestyles and eating habits are heavily laced with junk food. You know, high calorie, high-fat foods that when have eaten over extended periods, tend to create cardio-vascular complications. Thus, even with measures in place to lower the ‘filthy-habit’ known as smoking, we have made a couple of steps backwards with the adoption of sedentary lifestyles. It’s now time to change.
Back in the Day…
The indigenous people of Tsimane in South America lead a hunting and gathering lifestyle. Their foods are rich in fibre filled with unprocessed carbohydrates with a dash of protein. They also indulge in rigorous physical activity on a daily basis with an average of 4-7 hours of activity.
In the 60’s, an estimated 40% of adults smoked, this was a high number by any standards really. Today, this number has significantly dropped to about 15%. So, what is the big deal about smoking? Well, it turns out that smoking leads to heart disease by increasing the blood pressure. This can have a ricochet effect of reducing exercise endurance and the susceptibility of individuals to blood clotting and high cholesterol in their systems.
At the turn of the last century, heart disease was largely considered a non-issue when looking at American deaths. However, by the 60’s, heart disease accounted for a large number of people aged 50-60.
Since then, fewer people nowadays die of heart-related complications, accounting to about 425,000 deaths per year. This has greatly been aided by the development of modern medicine and awareness of the populace on the essence of leading healthier lifestyles.
Lower cholesterol levels in the blood has also had a major hand to play in this new development. It is known that a high cholesterol level can double the risk of dying from heart disease. There has been a positive shift in the levels of what is considered as ‘normal’ cholesterol level. In the 60’s the average cholesterol level among most adults was about 240mg/dL; today, only about 12% have these levels. Nowadays, these figures are considered as being high cholesterol levels given that the average cholesterol level in the populace is about 200mg/dL. A massive change, right?
Preventing heart disease has a lot to do with changing our lifestyles. Sedentary lifestyle often leads to accumulation of fat that tends to clog our cardio-vascular operations. Thus, it would be best to eat healthily and work out frequently. While the use of medicines like statins is also an alternative way to keep the heart healthy, they should be used only as a last resort in dire situations.
By making radical changes to your lifestyle, you are bound to discover that you will look and feel younger and better. It’s not a secret really, the key is consistency. Working out and eating healthy ensures that you are physically fit, happy and much more energetic.
You should condition yourself to regular exercise using a three-pronged approach; flexibility exercises like yoga, cardiovascular training and resistance strengthening of the body. Cardiovascular training should take about 30-90 minutes every day in order to regulate our breathing patterns. Resistance training entails the indulgence of the whole body in physical exercises like intensity running at least once a week.
You should formulate a good eating plan that provides you with balanced meals. This should entail vegetables, fruits, and non-fat dairy products, limited amounts of lean meat, seafood, whole grains and beans.
The Dangers Hidden Behind Belly Fat
There are many associated ailments with being overweight. Key among them are the dangers of contracting high blood pressure, type 2 Diabetes and heart failure in extreme situations of obesity.
Having a potbelly, even in people with normal weight, rapidly increases the risk of dying. Why? This is because belly fat does not just lie dormant; it tends to release dangerous chemicals like cytokines that may trigger chronic inflammations in the body. Chronic inflammations are largely associated with fatal diseases like heart disease.
The other chemicals that belly fat releases are steroid hormones that make it harder for you to lose belly fat. Thus, having a large belly means that you tend to produce more hormones that will make it harder for you to lose weight. There is no winning here.
How to Lose Belly Fat
You can easily shed fat by having a good exercise program and eating healthy. You should look to achieve a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 18.5-25. By comparing weight and height figures scientifically, you get the BMI.
The other way you can lose belly fat is by ensuring that your waist circumference ranges between 35 inches in women and 40 inches in men.
Living healthy by regular exercising and eating healthy foods is the way to go. Smoking causes respiratory and cardiovascular complications in the long run. Thus, you should quit smoking. Once you realize these dangers and start leading a healthy lifestyle, you’ll prepare a good model for future generations to come. After all, we’ve learned all that we know now, from our parents’ story, haven’t we?
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