Cindy Bachelor | HealthGreatness
Incorporate our easy to follow habits into your daily routine and enjoy the benefits of a healthy heart. Making a few simple changes throughout the day can result in significant improvements regardless of your age or weight. We suggest that you begin slowly, gradually working up to some of the more rigorous habits, as well as planning ahead and consulting with your doctor prior, especially if you are being treated for any existing conditions.
Cardiovascular Disease Facts
A recent article at health.gov states that approximately 30% of the U.S. adult population is to some extent affected by cardiovascular disease. Although this is an alarming figure, there are steps that you can take to reduce the risk and effects. Diabetes, elevated triglycerides, insomnia, obesity, and a lack of exercise are commonly associated with heart-related problems, including heart attacks.
Creating Heart Healthy Habits
Creating a new habit typically requires following the routine for 60-90 days. Some people prefer to jump right in and challenge themselves by changing all of their bad habits at one time, while others will find better success by gradually replacing one or two at a time. Determine which is best for you, and start with items that will have the biggest effect on how you feel. As you gradually begin to feel healthier it will be easier to adopt more good habits.
Exercising with a friend or partner may help make it easier and more fun to keep on track. Changing eating habits can be difficult, and you may occasionally have a setback. Accept that it happens and get right back on track with the next meal. Planning meals in advance can help you be prepared with heart healthy recipes and ingredients.
Ten Habits for a Healthy Heart
1. Develop a positive attitude to help keep you motivated. Focusing on what personally motivates you, for instance being involved with children or grandchildren, helps people stay on track. A positive mindset is a choice that can make or break your regimen.
2. Add exercise throughout the day and evening. Build up to strenuous exercise gradually, begin with walking for a few minutes a day if you are not active already. Incorporate exercise into your daily routine and try to get up and walk around for a few minutes at least every hour.
3. Stop smoking.
Many people associate smoking with lung cancer, but are unaware of its effect on heart disease. Smoking increases your risk of peripheral artery disease, atherosclerosis, affects cholesterol levels, increases heart rate, blood pressure, and increases carbon monoxide levels in your blood. Many people have found that hard candy, a toothpick, or sunflower seeds can be used to make it easier to stop smoking.
4. Improve eating habits by reducing salt and saturated fat intake.
Following a Mediterranean diet is one example that is often recommended. It includes lots of fresh vegetables, olive oil in place of butter, and fish. Spices and vegetables can be used in recipes to add flavor rather than heavy creams and butter. Replace simple starches that convert to sugars with whole grain. This list at healthfinder.gov can help you identify which foods are suggested for a healthy heart.
5. Add water to your daily routine, with one caveat.
If you experience shortness of breath, swelling or edema, your doctor may recommend limiting all liquids.
6. Reduce or eliminate alcohol as it can not only interact with medicines that may be prescribed but also can increase heart failure and rate.
8. Add fiber to your diet by eating fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, and bran. The recommended daily amount is 25-35 grams. This will help you feel full and when combined with exercise and an overall improved diet plan will help make it easier to lose excess weight.
9. Start reading food labels to ensure you are following your doctor’s recommendations. Salt and sugar are often added to processed and canned foods.
10.Take your medication as prescribed by your doctor. High blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels require that you take these medicines on schedule. Schedule a checkup and learn what your numbers are. It is important to have your doctor’s okay prior to beginning a new exercise program.
Our Ten Habits for the Healthy Heart can help you reach your goals. Set small goals to help you stay motivated as you begin your journey.