By Jackie Yuw, Student Health and Wellness Programs Peer Health Educator
Danielle Marrufo, Photographer
During the month of February, we typically view the human heart as the symbol of love. Not only is February known for Valentine’s Day, but it is also American Heart Month; a time to show love for not only others, but for yourself as well. Take the time to really learn about your risks for heart disease and stroke and learn about the ways in which you can become and stay, “heart healthy”.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) including heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure, is the number one killer of women and men in the United States. Although most of us may still be young, it doesn’t mean that we should wait until it’s too late. We should be considering heart disease now. The lifestyles people establish in college, often continue later into life. Making a few healthy changes, could help save your life in the long run (http://www.cdc.gov/ features/heartmonth/).
So what are some strategies for better heart health that you can adopt now to help prevent cardiovascular disease? Here’s are some steps you can take to help you live a long, productive healthy life, Life’s Simple 7: (http://mylifecheck.heart.org/).
Manage Blood Pressure: High Blood Pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Making sure your blood pressure stays within healthy ranges will help reduce the strain on your heart, arteries and kidneys.
Get Active: Daily physical activity increases your length and quality of life. If you get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day, five times per week, you are lowering your risks for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. The Student Life Center has a wide variety of machines/equipment designed for many dif- ferent types of exercises. The Student Life Center also provides numerous opportunities for patrons to meet their fitness goals. Qualified staff and resources are available for group and personal instruction via a wide variety of classes such as yoga, circuit training, hula and spin.
Control Cholesterol: When you control your cholesterol, you are giving your arteries their best chance to remain clear of blockages. Having too much bad cholesterol can lead to heart disease and stroke.
Eat Better: A healthy diet is one of the best ways to fight cardiovascular disease. Eating a hearthealthy diet will help improve your chances of feeling good and staying healthy. For a heart-healthy diet, eat less foods that are low in saturated and trans fat, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars, and more foods that are high in whole grain fiber, lean protein and a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.
Lose Weight: Having too much fat, especially around your waist area, puts you at a higher risk for health problems such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes. Successfully losing weight and keeping it off will help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Reduce Blood Sugar: lowered blood sugar helps to protect vital organs and reduces the chances of diabetes. Reducing blood sugar can be done by reducing the consumption of simple sugars that are found in sugary items such as candy and soda, and getting regular physical activity.
Stop Smoking: Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing CVD. In order to live a long and healthy life, breaking the nicotine addiction will be very important. Doing whatever it takes to quit (one day at a time, one hour at a time), you can learn to replace the craving for cigarettes with healthier options. If you’re wanting to quit smoking, please contact the Hawai’i Tobacco Quitline at 1-800 QUIT-NOW (784-8669). The Hawai’i Tobacco Quitline is completely FREE and confidential!
Join UH Hilo Student Health & Wellness Programs and UH Hilo Student Life Center for Zumba on Feb. 19, from 6:30-8 p.m. at Campus Center Plaza. Zumbaway Heart Disease! Student Health &
Wellness Programs is located in E-203 on the 2nd floor of the Student Services Center (808-932-7458 or 808-932-7465)