While February is usually known as the month of love, red hearts actually mean more than just Valentine’s Day decorations. February is American Heart Month to bring public awareness about heart disease. Unfortunately, it's the No. 1 killer of women with one in three deaths every year. And for Latinas, we’re more likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than our non-Latina friends. That’s a scary fact! However, preventing heart disease and caring for your corazón can be easier than you think with a healthy diet and regular physical activity. For those of us who sit at a desk all day, here are some simple ways to fight cardiovascular disease while at work:
Prepare Your Own Meals
It’s easy to buy breakfast or lunch at work because you are running late in the morning. Unfortunately, there are usually limited healthy meal alternatives at work to assist you with your overall health and heart disease prevention.
Preparing your meals the night before (or whenever works best for your schedule) is an easy way to ensure you eat a healthy, well-balanced diet while at the office. Packing a lunch filled with fruits, vegetables, and lean meats will make a big difference in the long run. You can also buy an assortment of healthy snack alternatives such as almonds and granola bars to snack on throughout the day. Not only will it ensure you’re eating healthier, but it also helps you save money each week. It’s a win-win situation!
Move at Your Desk
The American Heart Association recommends 40 minutes of physical activity three to four times a week to prevent the onset of heart disease. For those of us who work at a desk all day, it may be difficult to squeeze in a full workout with our busy schedules.
To incorporate physical activity into your daily routine, try simple activities such as using the stairs to get to the office or taking a 15-minute walk during your lunch break. If possible, request or buy your own fitness equipment to use at work. Equipment such as treadmill desks, under-the-desk steppers, stability balls, and hand weight balls are easy ways for you to incorporate a small workout while you’re sitting at your desk sending emails, etc.
Cut Out Bad Habits
Do you skip meals because you’re too swamped with work? Do you take smoke breaks while at the office? Do you drink soda every day? If you said yes to any of the above, you are at a higher risk of developing heart disease by virtue of these bad habits.
If you want to prevent the onset of cardiovascular disease, cutting bad lifestyle habits can make a substantial difference to your health. For instance, drink more water instead of soda. For smokers, not only does smoking damage your lungs, but cigarette smokers are also at a higher risk for heart disease. So drop that cigarette and make it a goal to quit!
Even though it may be difficult at times to lead a healthy lifestyle because of work, there are several ways to prevent heart disease while at the office. As women, we need to fight these daily battles in order to beat the war on heart disease! By educating and encouraging each other to lead healthier lives, we can live longer to enjoy all the beautiful things life has to offer.
For more information about American Heart Month and how you can prevent heart disease, check out the American Heart Association’s Go Red Por Tu Corazón campaign.