We're kicking off Monday with what may be the most important thing you do all week.
In honor of CPR Awareness Week (which ends today) and the American Heart Association's goal of teaching 1 million people how to perform CPR by the end of June, we're asking every Healthy SELF reader -- that's you! -- to visit cprweek.org to watch a quickie how-to video and play an interactive video game (a very welcome Monday a.m. distraction).
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Even if you think you know how to perform CPR, you likely don't (check out SELF staffers in action)! I'm embarrassed to say I haven't been re-certified in 5-plus years, and a lot has changed: Effective CPR no longer requires mouth-to-mouth breathing or worrying about counting cadence.
Go here for a hands-only CPR lesson. It's a super simple, but essential skill. As Clyde Yancy, president of the American Heart Association and medical director at the Baylor Heart and Vascular Institute says, "Let's be clear; CPR can save a life and likely the life of someone you love." Hard to argue with that.
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According to Dr. Yancy, while heart disease is the number one killer of women, it can be prevented in 80 percent of cases by taking these 7 simple steps:
1. This is a big DUH, but seriously, don't smoke. Not even socially. Also, steer clear of secondhand smoke, and lay off smokeless tobacco (not the sexiest habit!) and cigars (they went out of style with the Clinton administration anyhow).
2. Achieve your ideal body weight. Stick to workouts by making them fun. Build your own heart-strengthening routine with SELF's new Workout Builder.
3. Eat smart: Increase your intake of fruits and veggies, add fish and fiber to your diet, and cut your intake of sodium and sugar.
Bonus: Here's the ultimate heart-healthy grocery list.
4. Get active. Not sure where to start? Join the SELF Challenge for all the motivation you need to get your heart -- and your beach body -- in shape now.
5. Know your blood pressure: It should be less than 140/90. Don't know your digits? Time for a check up -- or at least head to a CVS and use their automatic cuff (most have one stashed in a corner near the pharmacy counter).
6. Know your cholesterol: It should be less than 200. The best food choices for lowering your bad cholesterol (LDL): Fiber-rich fruit, oatmeal, beans, and green leafy veggies.
7. Know your blood sugar: It should be less than 100. How high is your risk of diabetes? Lower it with smart, fresh summer eats!
Big thanks to today's Healthy SELF blog contributor, Dr. Clyde Yancy and the American Heart Association, for providing awesome advice!
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Photo Credit: Condé Nast Digital Studio