You might be thinking, “What in the world does Heart Health Awareness Month have to do with time management and productivity?” If you can wrap your brain around the following paragraph, you’ll improve both your health and your time management game.
The productivity mantra I preach is that time management is all about mind management. In order for your brain to operate at maximum potential and make better decisions about how you choose to use your time, you must take care of the body that houses it. Your heart is the organ that pumps lifeblood – literally – throughout your body. If you don’t take care of your heart, you’ll face time-consuming challenges in your professional and personal lives.
If you already closely monitor your heart health, congratulations! But if this is something you’ve never really thought about paying attention to – or you’ve been putting off paying attention to it – take a peek at this Heart Health Awareness Month information and warning signs list from Marcos Medical Care in San Antonio, Texas:
disease—and the conditions that lead to it—can happen at any age. High rates of
obesity and high blood pressure among younger people (ages 35-64) are putting
them at risk for heart disease earlier in life. Half of all Americans have at
least one of the top three risk factors for heart disease (high blood pressure,
high cholesterol, and smoking).
Many of the conditions and behaviors that put people at risk for heart disease are appearing at younger ages:
- High blood pressure. Millions of Americans of all ages have high blood pressure, including millions of people in their 40s and 50s. Having uncontrolled high blood pressure is one of the biggest risks for heart disease and other harmful conditions, such as stroke.
- High blood cholesterol. High cholesterol can increase the risk for heart disease. Having diabetes and obesity, smoking, eating unhealthy foods, and not getting enough physical activity can all contribute to unhealthy cholesterol levels.
- Smoking. Smoking damages the blood vessels and can cause heart disease.
Other conditions and behaviors that affect your risk for heart disease include:
- Obesity. Carrying extra weight puts stress on the heart.
- Diabetes. Diabetes causes sugar to build up in the blood. This can damage blood vessels and nerves that help control the heart muscle.
- Physical inactivity. Staying physically active helps keep the heart and blood vessels healthy. Only 1 in 5 adults meets the physical activity guidelines of getting 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity.
- Unhealthy eating patterns. Most Americans, including children, eat too much sodium (salt), which increases blood pressure. Replacing foods high in sodium with fresh fruits and vegetables can help lower blood pressure. But only 1 in 10 adults is getting enough fruits and vegetables each day. Diet high in trans-fat, saturated fat, and added sugar increases the risk factor for heart disease.”
In recognition of Heart Health Awareness Month, choose one item from this list that you’ll monitor for the next three weeks. Need some ideas? You could address physical inactivity by walking a lap around your desk or cubicle once every hour. Or if you wish to address unhealthy eating patterns, you could replace any candy or high sugar/sodium/saturated fat snacks in your desk with healthier choices. By taking one small step over the next three weeks, you’ll help your heart and your time management.
Here’s to your healthy heart!