Did you know? According to the CDC, a whopping 34 percent of adults in the United States are facing obesity! And perhaps even scarier, is that 20 percent of children between 6 and 11 years old are also obese. Unfortunately, this is mainly due to the trends towards sedentary lifestyles and diets full of junk-food. But the the reality is, the true issue of obesity goes well beyond a person’s weight.

People who are obese, and even just overweight, are put at a much greater risk for some heart-related problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. And according to the American Heart Association, obesity increases the risk of having heart disease which is the leading cause of death for both men AND women.

Luckily, there are some easy ways to help your heart. Through some simple, practical daily steps it is truly possible to live a much heart-healthier lifestyle. These four steps are:

  1. Clean Out Your Kitchen
  2. Plan Out Your Shopping List
  3. Keep Moving Daily
  4. Get Plenty of Quality Rest

Clean Out Your Kitchen

As daunting a task as this might seem, it is crucial to start at the epicenter of where you do your food and meal prep. Start but doing an entire sweep of your kitchen cupboards and pantry, and of course, your refrigerator and freezer.

Here’s a short list of things to toss ASAP:

  • Sugary sodas
  • Candy
  • Anything baked with refined flour
  • Sugary cereals
  • Take-out food cartons
  • Unhealthy frozen entrĂ©es
  • Full-fat ice cream

This might seem like you’re throwing out everything. But you will need all this space for healthy prepared meals, fresh fruits and vegetables!

Plan Out Your Shopping List

Buying and preparing food yourself not only ensures you reap all of the nutrient benefits, but it is also a major money saver. Taking the time one or two days a week to plan out your meals and make a shopping list before you head to the store might seem like a ton of work at first. But once you get into the habit, you will absolutely find it to be a life changing alteration to your routine. Not only will you be able to avoid last-minute take-out dinners, but all those last-minute trips to the grocery store will also become absolute!

Keep Moving Daily

Exercise and movement! It is so important for your heart that you factor in some aerobic exercise into your daily routine, but also just to move more in general. You can start with little things like walking a few blocks to your local coffee shop instead of driving. Or parking a little farther away from the store entry when you’re running errands. Little things like taking the stairs versus the elevator, or instead of sending that email just walk over to your colleague’s desk to have the conversation. All of these things add up to help you burn more calories and keep your heart more fit. 

Get Plenty of Quality Rest

Believe it or not, sleep can have a lot of effect on your heart and your overall health. Not getting enough sleep will decrease your metabolism, boost your stress hormones and can even attribute to depression. To set the stage for some great quality sleep, don’t eat a big meal too late or close to bedtime. Avoid drinking alcohol close to your bedtime as well. And finally, keep your bedroom dark, quiet and at a slightly cool temperature for some serious sleep!