I recently moved across the state to continue my education at the University of Wyoming—and I am so excited! A really important part of my life as a college student is staying active- and luckily that fits in perfectly with our August theme: Healthy for Good! Whether you’re a college student, working adult, or even a retiree, making choices that will make your heart healthy long-term will truly benefit you- and it doesn’t have to be hard!
hero_image_alt_text===Picture of Cheyenne sitting down
thumbnail_alt_text===Picture of Cheyenne and a waterfall
The first step towards preventing heart disease is education. Ignoring your risk factors won’t make them go away, and heart disease can happen to anyone- regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, etc. By learning which factors you are most at risk for, you can begin making healthy choices for good- today! It’s never too early or late to start, and our generations must start taking action in order to positively influence those in the future! Did you know that 2 in 3 American adults and 1 in 3 American children are medically considered obese? Unfortunately, those numbers are continuing to rise in both the United States and the world- physical inactivity is now responsible for more deaths than smoking, internationally! Let’s be the change and start today, regardless of age!
A large portion of the mission of the AHA is providing education and solutions to these issues, something I loved partnering with them for as Miss Wyoming! I had the opportunity to visit schools across the state during the AHA’s Jump Rope for Heart fundraising campaign and talk to thousands of our young students about how even they can start building up their heart health – and let me tell you, they were so inspiring! The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of aerobic exercise each day (that adds up to only 150 minutes per week)! From swimming to biking to basketball to soccer to playing tag, these Wyoming kiddos have the right idea!
The important thing to remember is that every little bit of exercise counts, even those little 10-minute walks around the block with your dog when you get home from work in the evening, or choosing to take the stairs over the elevator when you get to your office in the morning, or deciding to bike to class (like I plan to at UW!) on the nice days rather than drive. Even if you’re not meeting your goals at first, you will be making progress! Over time, you will build up your strength and stamina, enabling you to engage adventures you may have never thought possible before! You will actively be reducing your risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses associated with obesity, leading to lower medical costs as you age because your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, circulation, and bone density are more likely to be balanced and in their target range.
American Heart Association scientists and researchers have also found that this physical activity can also help boost energy level, manage stress, sleep better, and even improve self- confidence and perception. Not only does this small 30-minute portion of your day benefit you physically, but mentally and emotionally too! It’s a win-win situation, as you improve your overall quality of life.
Last month, I posted a blog about my 5 favorite places to hike in Wyoming. If you haven’t read it already, be sure to check it out here! There are so many ways to improve your heart health through physical activity in the great Cowboy State, and I’d love for you to share your ideas with me! (Maybe I’ll even do a future blog post on them!) I’ve been very active hiking this summer, and over the past month I’ve even become more interested in paddle boarding and kayaking. As a transfer college student now on a larger campus where parking can be scarce, I plan on walking and biking to class more, or taking a few extra minutes to go the long way. When you live in a state as beautiful as this, you have to take advantage of the landscape! So get up, get active, dance like a maniac in your bedroom to your favorite song- your heart will thank you for it!
Don’t forget to get involved with the lifesaving advocacy work of the American Heart Association today! Add your voice by simply texting HEART to 46839 right now, or visit https://www.yourethecure.org/join. It only takes a few minutes, and you will be part of a powerful movement to make a difference and save lives. Additionally, your donation to the AHA can help fund education for others to learn about their risk factors and changes they can make to become healthy “for good,” as well as support scientific research for a cure! Thanks for your support!
Forever your Miss Wyoming 2017 and AHA Advocate,