Becoming heart-healthy means living a healthy lifestyle. Start with a check up with your health provider to see just how healthy you and your heart are at this time. Have your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked. If either or both are too high, lifestyle changes along with medication may be what you’ll need.
How can you take better care of your heart?
- Get physically active. This doesn’t mean you have to join a gym and lift weights. Start small because any physical activity is better than none at all. Can you fit in 30 minutes a day of activity for 5 days a week? Walking is a great over all activity and can be done almost anywhere. Check out some yoga videos on the internet to do at home for several minutes a day. They will keep you flexible and help you to relax. Love music and like to dance? A few more minutes a day moving to your favorite music counts as physical activity. It’s good for your heart and it’s fun!
- Improve your diet. Most of us have our favorite junk food and love the odd treat. There’s nothing wrong with indulging occasionally. Most of our diet should, however, contain what we already know is good for us. Eat more vegetables, fruit, grains, fish and lean meats. Try a salad combination with slices of chicken breast and hard boiled egg. A fruit bowl can be made up of whatever is in season in your area. Add fruit to your morning yogurt. There are many ways that meals can be healthy and enjoyable. Eating healthy will help you to lose any excess weight. If you’re overweight it not only hurts your heart but affects most parts of your body including your liver, your joints and even your brain.
- Try to reduce stress. Some stress is good for us but many of us are carrying far too heavy a load. We may have parents we’re caring for, a job, children with disabilities and many other worries. Find what works for you. This is where exercise can come to the rescue. All forms of exercise can help with stress. Yoga is a known stress beater. Find relaxing music to listen to and if you think you need supplements, speak with your doctor about which are best for you. Sleep is very important in helping to reduce stress. Find a nighttime routine that works for you. A relaxing book to read before bed can send you off to sleep in no time. If you wake during the night, don’t let your daytime worries keep you from getting back to sleep. Try to relax your whole body. It will help you to get in a better frame of mine for falling asleep again.
Keeping your heart healthy is part of a whole body and mind health plan. February is American Heart Month. To read more information on getting and staying heart healthy, click here.