February is American Heart Month. Find out how to reach the ideal weight to keep your heart happy.
Our weight plays a major role in the health of our heart. Although we all want to look and feel great, we also need to ensure that we care for our organs. Striving for a healthy weight is extremely important for our well-being on a daily basis and our longevity, too.
What is BMI?
BMI stands for Body Mass Index. BMI is used to estimate how much body fat you have, depending on your height and weight. The American Heart Association provides this handy BMI calculator. Generally speaking, a person should shoot for a BMI somewhere between 18 and 25.
How does excess weight affect our heart?
- More body mass puts more pressure on top of our organs.
- Extra weight requires the heart to pump harder when transporting blood throughout the body.
- Circulation becomes poor and oxygen isn't efficiently transported.
- The artery walls become damaged.
- You become more vulnerable to diseases, especially heart disease.
- Blood pressure rises.
- LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) levels go up.
What is the best way to achieve a healthy weight?
To put it simply, losing weight requires that you consume fewer calories than you burn. This doesn't always mean reducing how much you eat or hitting the gym more. The first step to take toward a healthy heart is to analyze the ingredients you put into your body and strive to eat more whole, nutrient-dense foods. You may actually end up eating more fruit and veggies, but less junk food and soda that are high in sugar, sodium and fat content.
Weight is only part of the equation.
No matter your weight, exercise and healthy ingredients must be a part of your lifestyle to ensure a healthy heart. Even slender people can have poor health on the inside if they don’t exercise and eat right, even worse if they smoke.