February is Heart Month, so now’s the perfect time to explain ways to keep your heart in good health. Heart disease one of the leading causes of death, so this month, help us spread awareness and form good, heart-healthy habits.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Talk to your doctor about what a healthy weight would be for you specifically, depending on your age and sex. Maintain that healthy weight or make it a goal to lose weight if you’re above that ideal number.
- Live an active lifestyle: You don’t have to spend hours in the gym each day to be considered active. Simply take 30 minutes out of your day to do moderate physical activity, such as walking or swimming. If you have bigger fitness goals like losing weight or gaining muscle, you’ll need to spend more time in the gym.
- Avoid smoking and only drink in moderation: There’s nothing wrong with the occasional drink but keep it moderate if you want to take care of your heart. High alcohol use can hurt your heart and lead to diseases of the heart muscle, plus drinking regularly raises your blood pressure.
- Have a healthy and balanced diet: There are countless things to say about what foods are and are not good for your heart. In short, you should be eating nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, lean poultry, fish and whole grains. Do your best to avoid things with saturated and trans fats, excess sodium and sugar.
- Keep your cholesterol and blood pressure under control: The first step is finding out what the optimal cholesterol and blood sugar levels are for your age group and sex. Then, get those levels tested to see if you’re in a good place.
- Manage your stress levels: Stress isn’t good on your body and especially not on your heart. Do activities each day that will bring your stress levels down, help you relax and bring you some happiness.
- Make yoga a new hobby: Not only is yoga great for improving balance, flexibility and strength, but it’s another great way to reduce stress levels.
- Cut back on the salt: You may be surprised just how much salt is found in processed and restaurant-prepared foods. Reducing your salt intake can significantly reduce your chances of developing coronary heart disease.
- Take the stairs: Every opportunity for exercise is a good opportunity. Something as simple as taking the stairs every day or walking the long way home can make a big difference.
- Keep your oral hygiene in check: Bacteria that causes gum disease can also raise your risk of heart disease. Make sure you’re brushing your teeth regularly, not only for your heart health, but also to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
This month, focus on making small lifestyle changes that will benefit your heart in the long run. Also, do what you can to help us spread awareness by encouraging your loved ones to make heart-healthy decisions. Contact us with any questions – we're happy to help!