As you craft your list of New Year’s resolutions, put your heart first with a heart health lifestyle makeover. A great place to start is by exchanging old habits with new behaviors or simply focusing on tweaking your current habits with some new ideas. Little changes can add up to a host of benefits when it comes to your heart health. We recommend these:
1. Use new tricks to keep your weight under control. We know that managing your weight can help keep your heart healthy. Try exchanging empty calories in your diet (like sugary drinks and sodas) with nutrient dense power foods. A simple drink makeover can make a difference in your calories intake, which often sabotage our weight management goals.
2. Reduce sodium. Sodium or salt is a known contributor to increased blood pressure. Decrease the amount of salt by simply reducing how much of your food comes from boxes. Processed foods (premade meals, snacks, etc.) are notorious for being loaded with salt. Buy more fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables to incorporate into your meals. Try to limit yourself to no more than two processed food items per day.
3. Give your heart a workout. Make sure that you are working the most important muscle in your body; your heart. Cardiovascular exercise, or activity that gets your heart pumping is an excellent way to keep it healthy. Make sure you are getting 20-30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week. Go walking at the mall or in a park. Get out and ride a bike. Park a little further then you usually do, and add some extra exercise into your day.
4. Cut back on red meat. The fat in red meat is one of the culprits that can lead to increased LDL cholesterol (or bad cholesterol). Try to go vegetarian two days a week. Find some great, go-to meatless recipes and make sure to have the ingredients on hand. You might just find a few new things that are not only healthy, but delicious.
5. De-stress you life. Aside from diet and exercise, decreasing stress is often overlooked as a heart smart health tip. Try getting 10-20 minutes of focused relaxation each day. Turn off the technology and sit in a quiet room and focus on deep breathing. Make sure your are feeling your belly expand with each breath and try to imagine yourself in a peaceful place. Make time to relax and your heart will thank you for it.
Happy New Year from Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point. Visit us online to check out our Schedule of Classes and Events. For more health information or a physician referral, call our Consult-A-Nurse service at 1-888-741-5119.