Five Steps for Better Health

According to the CDC, cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in America.  One in three women, will die from CVD and one women dies every minute.  Yet the risk of cardiovascular disease can be significantly decreased with a few simple steps. 

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1. Count your steps.  All healthy adults ages 18-65 should be getting at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week.  Pedometers offer a great way to increase your number of steps and track your activity. For rewards from your walking program pick up S2H pedometer.  For every 10,000 steps receive 60 points to redeem gift certificates and other prizes for your activity.

2.Eat more fruits and vegetables. Try my Naked Nutrition: 1-2-3 method of getting more fruits and vegetables into your diet.  Think 1 fruit or vegetable at breakfast,2 at lunch and at least 3 at dinner.  Try to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables with deep colors like blueberries, peaches, spinach or kale.  If you're trying to lose weight just "Eat your veggies!"  and stick to what you know.  People who are most successful at weight loss actually eat a smaller variety of foods, according to NWCR findings. 
 
3. Avoid sugary drinks.  Water is zero calories and the perfect partner for an active lifestyle.  Soft drinks and other sugary beverages are the number one source of added sugars and calories in the American Diet.
 Average can of soda has 150 calories That one soda per day adds 150 calories every day of the year adds up to  54,750 calories each year.
Since there's 3500 calories per pound, that one soda per day adds 15.64 pounds per year.

4. Eat more fish.  Fish provide Omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for your body to  function properly and may help lower your risk of heart disease. Cold water fish are best including salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel, trout and tuna.  Fish is low in calories and a good source of protein.

5. Know your heart numbers.  Many people have a routine physical can get the check off from their doctor that "my numbers are in range or normal".  But knowing your regular blood pressure and heart rate as well as cholesterol will give you an indication of trends for your future health. 
Moving from 175 to 199 in total cholesterol may be a significant trend while still staying in the normal ranges.  Healthy cholesterol numbers should be under 200 with an HDL cholesterol reading of at least 50.  Blood pressure should be 120/80 or less and focusing on the top number as a guide.

For more information on ways to help improve your health, check out these websites:

www.GoRedforWomen.org
www.heart.org
www.americanheart.org/mylifecheck
www.anytimehealth.com use the NakedFitness promo code until March 1, 2011 for premium access to membership
www.fitstudio.com

Andrea Metcalf is  a healthy lifestyle spokesperson and author of Naked Fitness ( Vanguard press). She is a volunteer for the American Heart Association.

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