Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. Each year, about 610,000 people die of heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s one in every four deaths. With February being American Heart Month, now is the perfect time to educate yourself and your workforce about the importance of living a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Many Americans are at risk of developing heart disease due to high-risk health behaviors. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, and smoking are three key risk factors for heart disease. According to the CDC, almost half of Americans (47%) have at least one of these risk factors. Unhealthy lifestyle choices and certain medical conditions can also contribute to a higher risk of heart disease, including:
- Poor diet
- Physical inactivity
- Excessive alcohol use
Although heart disease can be a scary topic, it’s important to spread awareness to help educate your workforce. Since heart disease is largely preventable, employees should be urged to practice heart-healthy behaviors. A healthy heart can be achieved through a nutritious diet, low stress levels, living tobacco-free, and regular exercise.
Living an active lifestyle is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy heart and reduce the risk of heart disease. Unfortunately, most Americans don’t exercise as much as they should. In fact, statistics gathered by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reveal that only one in three adults achieve the recommended amount of physical activity each week, and more than 80% of adults do not meet the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities. The CDC recommends at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week.
Physical activity benefits your heart health by strengthening your heart muscle. Regular exercise also helps lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, and stress levels – which can all have negative effects on your heart. This is why it’s so important to move more throughout the workday. Sitting at a desk for 40 hours a week can wreak havoc on your health. By making a few simples changes – like taking the stairs, parking far away, or taking 10-minute walking breaks throughout the workday –make a lasting difference on your heart health.
This February, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is focusing on the power of movement and its positive effects on the heart. We encourage you and your workforce to join the NHLBI and its The Heart Truth® program to move more and “Move with Heart.” Adults from across the nation are challenged to share their favorite physical activity with NHLBI by participating in their pledge to #MoveWithHeart.
Check out the #MovewithHeart video here:
We think the #MoveWithHeart pledge is an excellent opportunity for employers to challenge their employees to move more, while also spreading awareness for heart disease. Here’s how you and your employees can join the #MoveWithHeart Pledge:
- Grab your phone, hit record, and record a brief video of yourself stating: “I pledge to move more for my heart health.” Participants are encouraged to get creative and include a few seconds demo about how you plan to #MoveWithHeart. Examples include: walking your dog, playing with your kids or grandkids, or dancing. Choose whatever physical activity brings you joy and helps you feel good all over.
- Share your video on Twitter and Instagram using #MoveWithHeart, or submit the pledge to NHLBI’s website.
- Challenge friends, family members, and colleagues to #MoveWithHeart with you!
Your heart is one of the most important muscles in your body – and it deserves to be treated as such! Taking the #MoveWithHeart pledge is just one small thing you and your employees can do to better your heart health. Be sure to share this pledge at your office and have some fun with it! Feel free to follow along with our Instagram account for some #MoveWithHeart inspiration this February.
Will you be taking the #MoveWithHeart pledge this year? Let us know in the comment section below!
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