Cardiovascular disease continues to be the number one cause of death in the United States. It is also one of the most preventable. Experts agree that there are three mains steps you can take to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Steps to Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease:
- If you smoke, stop. Smoking increases your risk of coronary heart disease and heart attack. Remember that second hand smoke also increases your risk. If you live with a smoker, insist that they smoke outside, away from the home and do not allow smoking in your car. If you do smoke, now is the time to quit! There are several medications on the market that help reduce cravings for cigarettes.
- Follow a healthy diet consisting of lean proteins and dairy, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. Healthy proteins include skinless chicken, seafood, beans, and soy protein. Try to steer clear of added salt and sugar, and incorporate plenty of whole grains in your diet.
- Be physically active on a regular basis. Regular exercise lowers your weight and strengthens your heart and circulatory system.
Bicycling is a great exercise for the heart. It has been shown to:
- reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attack, and hypertension.
- stimulate the circulatory system, and over time, strengthen the heart and lungs.
- reduce your resting heart rate. This means that your heart does not have to work as hard when you are at rest.
- lower the amount of fat in your blood.
It is important to remember, however, that rest is also important for heart health. Bicyclists tend to be type-A personalities who make ride hard and take little time for rest. Lack of rest can actually inflame the blood vessels and stress the heart. It’s a great idea to visit a physician who exercises or competes regularly. They will know well the benefits as well as the strains of cycling and an intense exercise program.
As an avid bicyclist and bicycle accident attorney, I embrace the health benefits of bicycling. I encourage all avid cyclists to see their physician on a yearly basis and discuss your training and competition regime.