Our Ever-Present Danger
On any given day in America, you can turn on your television and be bombarded with information about the latest disease scare. Oftentimes, it is a deadly virus running its course in a foreign country. Sometimes it is a domestic outbreak of a non-life threatening common disease like measles. In either case, deadly or not, near or far, health officials and the media hype up the potential dangers to American health. Yet while the public cancels travel plans and races to get vaccinated, the most deadly threat to human health is largely ignored in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, an American dies every minute from heart disease, a totally preventable, lifestyle-induced disorder.
How Did This Happen?
Heart disease develops over time, the culmination of years of poor health practices. The standard American diet (the SAD diet) is partly to blame. Processed foods laden with sugar and refined grains, trans fats, excessive dairy consumption, and lack of essential nutrients that come from fruits, vegetables and fish are at the core. Excess calorie consumption from large portion sizes and compulsive eating put the icing on the cake. Add to that our sedentary lifestyles, lack of fresh air and sunshine, and toxic chemicals in our water supply, and we are all heart attacks waiting to happen.
Are You At Risk?
Many risk factors for heart disease have been identified. Cigarette smoking, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle and poor nutrition are major contributors to heart disease. Hypertension, diabetes and inflammation, a triad of conditions known as metabolic syndrome, are precursors to heart disease. Lack of essential nutrients like Vitamin D3 and Omega-3 fatty acids, and poor mitochondrial health from inactivity and nutritional deficits, can set you up for a cardiac episode. Inadequate water intake and regular consumption of soft drinks are also deadly.
Steps For Prevention
Ironically, reversing and preventing heart disease are easily accomplished. Your body is highly responsive to regular vigorous exercise, and even one exercise session can begin to reverse metabolic syndrome and boost mitochondrial health. Exercising outdoors in the fresh air and exposing your skin to sunlight will boost heart-protective Vitamin D3 stores. Changing your diet to whole foods that include plenty of fresh produce, legumes, nuts and fish will revolutionize your body over time. Drinking plenty of plain filtered water daily will promote a healthy circulatory system and flush out harmful toxins from your body.
At the heart of all change is education. The more you know and understand about your body and how lifestyle choices affect your health, the better equipped you will be to prevent and reverse the deadly precursors to heart disease. As a fitness professional, it is up to you to educate your clients and help them to make better choices. W.I.T.S. offers certification and continuing education courses that will fill the gaps in your understanding about heart disease. To get started, check out our courses in Nutritional Concepts, Exercise Program Design, Group Exercise Certification and Certified Personal Trainer.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Heart Disease Fact Sheet
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