Why we love Life's Essential 8
Following the American Heart Association’s “Life’s Essential 8” can give you the body of someone six years younger, new research has found. As six out of the Eight habits relate to weight loss in some way, the benefits of weight management couldn’t be clearer.
Life's Essential 8 in a nutshell
We love the American Heart Association’s “Life’s Essential 8” habits - these include healthy eating, physical activity, not smoking, getting a good night’s sleep, managing weight and keeping cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels in check. The SELECT trials have shown that reducing weight leads to improved cardiovascular outcomes and now new research presented at the AHA’s annual scientific conference shows adults who stick most closely to the recommendations are about six years younger, biologically, than their chronological age.
Heart health is a key factor in determining our overall well-being. A healthier heart is associated with a longer and more vibrant life, as well as a reduced risk of various health issues such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, dementia, and more. The "Life's Essential 8" offers a practical guide to enhancing and maintaining your cardiovascular health. In this blog, we'll explore these eight essential steps for a healthier lifestyle.
Eat better The first step on the path to improved cardiovascular health is to revamp your eating habits. Aim for a balanced diet that includes whole foods, an abundance of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, nuts, seeds, and cooking with heart-healthy oils like olive and canola. A well-balanced diet provides essential nutrients and energy to support your heart's health.
Be more active Regular physical activity is a cornerstone of cardiovascular health. Adults should strive for 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity each week. Walking is an excellent way to achieve moderate activity levels. For children, 60 minutes of daily physical activity, including both play and structured exercises, is essential for their overall health.
3. Quit tobacco Smoking and the use of nicotine delivery products are a leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S., contributing to a third of all heart disease-related fatalities. Additionally, exposure to secondhand smoke or vaping affects about a third of American children aged 3-11. Quitting tobacco is a vital step in improving cardiovascular health for both individuals and those around them.
4. Get healthy sleep Quality sleep plays a critical role in maintaining cardiovascular health. Adults should aim for an average of 7-9 hours of sleep each night, while babies and children require more, depending on their age. Both too little and too much sleep have been associated with heart disease, making consistent and restful sleep a priority.
Manage weight Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight offers numerous benefits for your heart. Body Mass Index (BMI), a measure of your weight relative to your height, is a useful indicator of your weight's impact on your cardiovascular health. Most adults should aim for a BMI ranging from 18.5 to less than 25. Consult a healthcare professional or use online tools to calculate your BMI accurately.
Control cholesterol High levels of non-HDL ("bad") cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease. Monitoring non-HDL cholesterol, rather than total cholesterol, is preferred by healthcare professionals because it can be measured without fasting and is a reliable indicator for people of all backgrounds.
Manage blood sugar Our bodies convert the food we eat into glucose (blood sugar), which serves as our primary energy source. Prolonged high blood sugar levels can lead to heart, kidney, eye, and nerve damage. Monitoring hemoglobin A1c can provide a more accurate reflection of long-term blood sugar control for individuals with diabetes or prediabetes.
- Manage blood pressure Keeping your blood pressure within the recommended ranges is essential for a longer and healthier life. Optimal blood pressure levels are typically less than 120/80 mm Hg. High blood pressure is defined as 130-139 mm Hg systolic pressure (the top number) or 80-89 mm Hg diastolic pressure (the bottom number).
A raft of clinical studies (for example Novo Nordisk’s SELECT trials) consistently show the benefits to cardiovascular health of losing weight by using the next generation of weight loss medication, such as Wegovy. CheqUp provides full weight management programmes based on this breakthrough medication to help people lose weight - and keep it off for good.
Published: 13 Nov 2023