The American Heart Association released updated blood pressure guidelines this week, and it may mean that you now fall in the at risk category for heart disease. Anyone with blood pressure higher than 130/80, now falls into the at risk category and is considered to have hypertension. This now means that nearly half (46%) of the adult American population has high blood pressure, previously it was 1 in 3 Americans. Not sure what your blood pressure is? I suggest you make an appointment with your physician to have your annual check up and discuss your risk for heart disease.
So what does this mean for your health?
If your blood pressure is at or near the limit it may be time to take a long hard look at your diet and make a plan to start an exercise regimen. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States according to the Center for Disease Control and one in four people die of heart disease related conditions each year.
If you smoke, are overweight, do not participate in regular physical activity or drink heavily, you are at a higher risk for developing heart disease. One of the easiest ways to lower your risk for heart disease is to participate in regular physical activity and eat a healthy balanced diet. The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes per week of aerobic physical activity for adults PLUS two or more days per week of muscle strengthening activities and one hour per day for children and teens. For adults this means just 30 minutes per day on average.
If you’re just starting an exercise program it’s best to start slow and get clearance from your doctor if you have an illness or injury. My best advice as a trainer is to start with walking, its free, easy to do and can be done anywhere with just a pair of tennis shoes. Start with 15 minutes a few times a week and gradually increase to 30 minutes several times a week. Schedule time to exercise, add in other activities like biking or swimming, and give your body time to recover and rest. Adding intense activities too quickly without proper rest can lead to injury and burnout.
If you feel that you don’t have time to exercise, ask yourself if you have time to be ill? The answer is probably not, so make exercise a priority just like you would work or sleep, there is always time to take care of yourself!
In addition to at home personal training I provide nutrition consults, meal recommendations, virtual training programs and time management services. Don’t wait until the New Year to start taking care of your health, the time is now!