A Healthier You
Healthier living does wonders for your heart. With better habits, you lower your risk of heart attack or stroke. Simple lifestyle choices can also help offset factors you can’t change such as a family history of heart disease.
But the benefits of a healthy lifestyle are more than scientific. You may find exercise enhances sleep quality and reduces stress. Eating healthier may trim your waistline and boost your energy levels. Healthier living often leads to a healthier attitude and outlook on life, too.
Boost Your Heart Health
A heart healthy lifestyle isn’t all sprouts and spin class. Make these simple changes and you’re already moving in the right direction — away from the couch.
- Cultivate a healthy diet.
Adjust what you eat and in what quantities. The benefits? A trimmer waistline and a turbo-boost of energy.
- Drink alcohol in moderation.
Drinking isn’t a prevention strategy. Limit your intake to one adult beverage a day, if any at all. Choose a glass of red wine and you may enjoy a few extra ounces of heart protection.
- Become more active and stay that way.
Being active doesn’t have to mean running a marathon. Take the stairs rather than the elevator or walk instead of driving. Being on the go gets your heart pumping!
- Aim for a healthy weight.
The closer you are to your ideal weight, the happier and healthier your body will be. Excess weight stresses your joints and heart. Even losing just five pounds makes a huge difference.
- Avoid tobacco.
From your body’s perspective, there’s nothing good about smoking. But even if you have smoked for years, quitting one year cuts your risk of heart disease in half.
- Control blood glucose levels.
Heart disease and diabetes tend to stick together. And many people who have diabetes don’t even know it. So have your blood checked regularly to keep diabetes at bay.
- Watch the cholesterol.
Cholesterol, which hardens arteries, is often a major ingredient in a heart attack. Try to keep your total cholesterol below 200. If it’s higher, take action sooner rather than later.
- Watch that blood pressure.
Blood pressure higher than 120/80? Better keep an eye on it. If it’s regularly 140/90 or higher, you have hypertension, a chronic condition where the pressure in your arteries is too high.
- De-stress yourself.
We can’t eliminate all stress, but we can learn better ways to cope with it. Try cutting back on your schedule or communicating openly instead of holding in. Or find new ways to relax, like a hobby.
- Get regular check-ups.
Getting and staying in tune with your body is critical. That means getting an annual check-up — even if you’ve never felt better. Your physician is a vital part of your healthcare team.