Life’s Simple 7

Life’s Simple 7

While reading an article about the link between diabetes and dementia – which apparently doubles in type 2 diabetics – I came across something interesting in Life’s Simple 7. It’s a list of seven steps that you can take to improve cardiovascular health recommended by the American Heart Association. They sound like a good idea for anyone who cares about their health and wants to reduce the risk of diseases. On the list are the following guidelines:

  • Manage blood pressure
  • Control cholesterol
  • Reduce blood sugar
  • Get active
  • Eat better
  • Lose weight
  • Stop smoking

All of this should be pretty easy to live by. You could start by going for walks, picking the low-carb salad option for lunch, and dropping a couple of kilos. Whereas there is disagreement as to whether high cholesterol is bad for you or not, we can all agree that cigarettes will kill you or at least make your teeth fall out. I like the suggestiveness of the list. Rather than tell you to eat healthily, it advises you to eat better, and there is a big difference between those two.

I think that many people fail when they try to embark on a healthy lifestyle because they set themselves very strict targets. These are almost doomed to fail. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Give yourself a break and start with baby steps. No need to toss out all the junk food and aim to run the New York Marathon next week. Go for a walk and eat a stir-fry for dinner. The blood pressure and cholesterol will follow. By making small sustainable changes, you’re already halfway there.

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