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’Go Red, Get Fit’ -- show your heart some love with healthy lifestyle changes

Take the challenge today for a healthier you.
Take the challenge today for a healthier you. (Courtesy: Baptist Health)

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Cardiovascular diseases claim the lives of 1 in 3 women, yet 80% of these cases may have been prevented through education and healthy lifestyle changes.

Lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease can feel overwhelming. In reality, making only one lifestyle change can make a big difference and the goal can be customized to fit your lifestyle.

Here are 9 examples of lifestyle changes that can help you achieve your goal of lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease:

  1. Know your numbers. You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Knowing your risk of cardiovascular disease starts with knowing your numbers: blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and BMI are a couple of them. To have a free 30-minute health assessment, take the Know Your Numbers challenge.
  2. Get active. Set a goal of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity, activity every week.
  3. Lose weight if you need to. When you shed extra fat and unnecessary pounds, you reduce the burden on your heart, lungs, blood vessels and musculoskeletal system.
  4. Live smoke free. Cigarette smokers and other tobacco users have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease than non-smokers. If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health.
  5. Break up with salt. Extra sodium in your diet can cause your blood pressure to rise, increasing your cardiovascular disease risk.
  6. Stay hydrated. Keeping your body hydrated helps your heart more easily pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles. Sally-Ann Pantin, MD, a family physician at Baptist Primary Care, gives quick tips to boost your hydration, consistently.
  7. Eat better. A healthy diet is one of your best weapons for fighting cardiovascular disease. When you eat a heart-healthy diet, you feel better and can improve your chances of staying healthy - for life! Looking for heart-healthy recipes? We’ve got your hunger covered!
  8. Manage your stress. Your mind deserves better than to be loaded down with the never-ending job of worrying. Long-term activation of your body’s stress response system can lead to many health troubles, including cardiovascular disease. We all need a self-care day to recharge.
  9. Sleep your way to whole-body health. Studies have found that most people need 6 to 8 hours of sleep each day and that too little or too much can increase the risk of cardiovascular problems.

Ready to take the “Go Red, Get Fit Challenge”? Join the American Heart Association and Baptist Health to keep healthy!

“Go Red, Get Fit Jax” is about empowering the greater Jacksonville area to prioritize their health. This fun, interactive challenge will help people from all walks of life to get started with one healthy lifestyle change to help lower their risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Nicole B. Thomas, FACHE, hospital president of Baptist Medical Center South and 2020 Go Red for Women Chair.

Join the challenge: www.heart.org/goredgetfitjax