Do you worry about your heart health? Do you exercise because people like me say it is important? What other potential interventions are there for you to encourage your heart health and sense of well-being?
I am not having heart trouble yet, but my family tree is littered with it. My father had high blood pressure that may have led to a stroke; my grandmother died of complications from high blood pressure and a stroke–need I say more? The research is out…which shows women like me can underestimate their risk of heart attack and are more likely to die than young men.
Lifestyle and dietary changes are no doubt challenging; taking them on at the same time is even more difficult unless you’re exceptionally motivated.
STUDY: Pat Ryan with the International Council on Active Aging reported on a meta-analysis of 10 studies that included more than 136,000 participants, with an average age of 67 years who lived primarily in Japan or the United States. The U.S. studies evaluated a sense of purpose or meaning in life, or “usefulness to others.” In Japan, this study assessed the concept of ikigai, translated as “a life worth living”. Participants were followed up for an average of seven years. During this time, more than 14,500 participants died from various causes while more than 4,000 suffered a heart attack or stroke.
FINDINGS: People with a high sense of purpose in life had a lower risk of death and also a lower risk of cardiovascular events. Both associations remained significant after considering the country where they lived, how purpose in life was measured and whether the participants had a pre-existing cardiovascular disease.
Even though we know exercise and activities contribute to overall heart health, your state of mind/purpose is also important.
SOURCE: Psychosomatic Medicine, published online (December 1, 2015)
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