Self-care is not just fancy talk saved for people with nothing better to do. Taking small steps to be a healthier version of yourself is not only practical, it’s attractive. There are factors in our life that we DON’T have any control over at all, like aging, genetics, and annoying neighborhood car alarms. Let’s all admit that we DO have control over important elements such as exercise, nutrition and happiness. It is these sets of choices that have shown to play a major role in our longevity and health over the course of our lifespans.
Body Parts & The Bad News
As body parts go, the heart is the top dog, the big kahuna, the apex predator. It is the single most important muscle in the human body. Even the brain thinks so, and this is good news. The bad news is heart disease is the #1 cause of death for both men and women in the United States. From here on, we’re just going to call heart disease “the Bad News.” Here’s a quick look at men, women, and American heart health.
The Siren Call of Cheeseburgers
Maybe American men are aware of the Bad News, but maybe you’ve noticed that some can be stubborn. It’s not easy to make daily choices that support a healthy heart. It’s much more fun to ignore the advice of doctors and eat more cheeseburgers. The Bad News means that daily habits like trips through the drive-thru and sitting all day at work affect a person’s heart health over time.
My Dude, Please Pay Attention to Self Care
About half of all heart attacks occur without warning, but men do have some early indicators which may be surprising. According to research published by Johns Hopkins Hospital, “Sexual problems often foretell heart problems.” Evidently, ED can be a canary in the coal mine for men. As always, men can make small course corrections to right the ship, turn toward Self-Care Island, and experience the big payoff of feeling great every day. More veggies on the plate, more time spent wearing sneakers, and finding a way to tackle stress are all good things. Use the beard oil you got for your birthday. Self-care is sexy, dude.
Salad, Women, and Salad.
Presenting a stereotype about women and salads here would be both redundant and repetitive. “Women eat healthier than men.” But American women also have to worry about the Bad News. Women experience heart-related issues at similar rates, but those issues occur later in life for them than it does for men, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at NIH. Poor heart health is also closely associated with an increased risk of cognitive decline later in midlife. Yes, this is also Bad News, but there is hope.
Midlife Is A Golden Moment
The National Institute on Aging NIH explored several recent studies that show that midlife is a crucial time to develop healthy habits. In one such study, the “authors concluded that midlife is an important opportunity (for women) to change behaviors to reduce blood sugar, diabetes, belly fat, and heart age score.” The Mayo Clinic explains that “heart age is calculated based on risk factors for heart diseases, such as age, blood pressure, and cholesterol, as well as diet, exercise, and smoking. A younger heart age means a lower risk of heart disease.” Self-care leads to a younger heart, and a young heart is sexy, lady. What isn’t sexy about being young at heart?
Here’s to a happy Valentine’s, or Galentine’s, Day.
It turns out that self-care is good for people. If you think that the phrase “Me Time” is finished, OceanBlue wants you to bring Me Time back. Admit it: taking care of yourself feels good. Feeling good boosts confidence, which is sexy. Ask the person in the mirror.
However you spend February 14th, please take care of your heart.