February is American Heart Month. It’s a great time to reflect on your heart health factors and improve your long-term health. You can start on the path to life-long results this month! To start on your healthy journey, you should know eight different important numbers about your life.
Knowing those numbers can give you a great starting point to reach your health goals! Some of them aren’t obviously related to your heart. The first four you can figure out at home. The others, you’ll have to go to a doctor to learn. But, visiting a doctor for a checkup is also an essential part of maintaining health!
The first number you should know is how many hours of sleep you are getting a night. The amount of sleep you get can significantly impact heart health. Adults need somewhere between six to eight hours. Too little or too much can have negative impacts on your overall health and your heart health. Too little sleep puts you at risk for high blood pressure.
The second number you should know is how much exercise you get. Knowing how much you are moving now can help you make your plans for the future. You might be surprised to see how little you move in a day. That’s especially true right now. The vast majority of our readers come to our site on a phone. There are tons of completely free apps that track your movement with your phone without using GPS! It’s not following where you are, just how much the phone moves, like an old-fashioned pedometer. You don’t have to worry about data being collected. You can just see how much you were moving during the day if you get your exercise from just walking or doing chores!
The third and fourth numbers are ones many of us prefer not to know! You should know your BMI and waist circumference. Your body mass index (BMI) is a ratio of weight to height that can help determine if you are overweight. Having a BMI over 25 is considered overweight; a BMI over 30 is obese. As weight can be a factor for health problems, it can be an important tool for guiding your goals. However, BMI doesn’t account for the fact that muscle weighs more than fat. Someone with more muscle could have a higher BMI than someone who is less healthy and has more fat. It’s not a perfect tool. That’s why knowing your waist circumference is better. Men should aim for a waist smaller than 40 inches, and women should be smaller than 35.
Once you know those numbers, you can head to your doctor’s office to learn the four other numbers you need to know: your regular blood sugar, resting pulse, blood pressure and cholesterol. Once you are armed with all these numbers, you’ll have a pretty good view of where you’re standing when it comes to your heart health. You and your doctor can plan future health goals and make a roadmap of how to get there!