A recent study based on research by the American Heart Association showed that only 1 in 5 Americans has optimal cardiovascular health. These findings have profound implications for our personal health and the health of the population as a whole. 

Americans already spend more on health care than any other country. Unless we make some changes, those expenditures will keep increasing. It’s never too late to make healthy changes, and any positive change helps. Prevention is the key to a long, healthy life. It is much easier to prevent disease than treat and manage the consequences of chronic illness.

The American Heart Association recommends the Essential 8 for Heart Health:

  1. Eat better
  2. Be more active
  3. Quit tobacco
  4. Get healthy sleep
  5. Manage weight
  6. Control cholesterol
  7. Manage blood sugar
  8. Manage blood pressure

Most of the Essential 8 can be achieved with lifestyle modification; in fact, most cardiovascular diseases and other chronic illnesses can be avoided or improved with lifestyle modification. Unfortunately, lifestyle modification can be difficult for people to accomplish and maintain long-term on their own. 

Many people know they should make healthy changes but can’t get started. Here are some tips to help:

  1. Keep a health journal for a week, listing everything you eat, any exercise you do, and any self-care you do, and review it at the end of the week for any improvements you can make. 
  2. Set realistic goals for yourself. For instance, if you’re not eating many fruits and vegetables, start by selecting a goal of eating three servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Give yourself 12 weeks to reach your goal. Then when you reach that goal, set a new one!
  3. Find an accountability partner to cheer you on.
  4. Consider a health coach to help you set and reach your goals. 

Athletes have coaches to guide them; why shouldn’t you have a coach to help you with your most important asset–your health. Health coaching uses a client-centered approach to facilitate change to benefit health and well-being. Coaches partner with their clients to create plans, take action, and achieve goals based on the client’s ideas, interests, and experiences. As a cardiologist turned health coach, I can help you reach your health and wellness goals through one-on-one health coaching. Through coaching, you will create enduring lifestyle changes. Click here to see my courses and coaching offerings. If you are interested in learning what health coaching can offer, click here to schedule a free consultation.