So often we spend money on entertainment, whether food or drink, films or plays, one of the many local Orlando theme parks, or perhaps vacation in general. A 2010 survey found that a family of four would spend, on average, $4,000 on their vacation. We spend all of that time resting and recovering from our hard work, giving our bodies the time that we think that they need to recover while we enjoy creating fun memories with our friends and family. With so much money spent on such a small amount of time, it seems ironic that we provide such little care for the thing that keeps us alive and enjoying the world around us.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one killer of men and women in the United States. CVD is the name given to the group of disease processes including heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. The American Heart Association found that CVD cost $312 billion – that’s more than 78 million four-person vacations! Even worse than the financial burden, more than 600,000 people (or 1 in 4) have lost their lives to CVD. So what can you do about it?
While it is true that some people are born with a higher risk than others for CVD, there are many ways in which each person can act daily to protect their heart. First, approach your health issues with your doctor or healthcare provider. Controlling diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure are a great way to reduce your risk. A recent study found that even five to 10 minutes of running per day, even at low speeds, nearly halves your risk of CVD-related death while still lowering your all-cause risk of death by 30 percent. Just as a comparison, this is a little more than one commercial break from your nightly sitcom or sporting event on television.
Making adjustments such as reducing the amount of salt in your food, avoiding sodas, and avoiding fried and fatty foods are great places to start with your diet. Smoke? If looking at the cost of Valentine’s Day scares you, try estimating the amount you spend each month on cigarettes, and how much more you will spend with extra healthcare costs.
We live in an amazing world with so many exciting places to see and an infinite number of possible adventures. While it’s great to spend our time and money enjoying these things, it always seems as though there is something standing in our way of doing so. The good news is that you can take many small efforts each day to make sure that your health is not that barrier. Perhaps even this year you can involve your loved ones in heart-healthy habits, and you can work together toward spending many strong, happy years together and creating a lifetime of memories.