The importance and benefits of achieving a healthy weight for heart health.
The headlines may be all about swim suits and skinny jeans, but did you know there are a lot more benefits to losing weight than just what shows up on the scale? Heart Health Month is the perfect time to talk about the importance of finding your healthy weight for a healthy heart. Even just a small weight loss can have big benefits when it comes to heart health.
How’s this for some motivation?
- According to studies by Washington University researchers, “four key measures of heart and vascular health improved in those who lost weight, including the heart’s pumping ability, its ability to relax, the thickness of the heart muscle tissue and the thickness of the carotid artery walls.” The research showed that just 10% loss of body weight had long-lasting benefits for heart health, even when some of that weight was regained.
- The Cleveland Clinic points out that, “Obesity and overweight are linked to several factors that increase one’s risk for cardiovascular disease (coronary artery disease and stroke)…Obesity and overweight are also linked to hypertension and an enlarged left ventricle (left ventricular hypertrophy), increasing risk for heart failure.”
- According to the American Heart Association, “One of every three deaths in the U.S. in 2013 was from heart disease, stroke or other cardiovascular disease, while heart disease and stroke were the No. 1 and No. 2 killers worldwide, according to the American Heart Association’s 2016 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics Update.” Many lifestyle choices factor into an individuals’ risk, including diet, physical activity and weight.
If your goal is to improve your heart health (and reduce your risk of other diseases, such as cancer and diabetes), start small and start now. Incorporate into your diet more nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins, move more, and start incorporating stress-reducing strategies into your day to work towards a healthy weight and a healthier heart.