You’d be surprised how many people think they are living a heart-healthy lifestyle when they really are not. Many people do not realize that their un-heart-healthy habits are slowly but surely resulting in an increased risk for heart disease and/or stroke. But don’t fret… it’s never too late to break bad habits and turn them into good ones. There are varying opinions on how long it takes a person to stop a bad habit and/or start a good one – but rest assured both can be accomplished with a little bit of effort.
Following are a few tips to help promote a heart-healthy lifestyle:
Exercise. According to the American Heart Association, every person should get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least five times per week, or 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least three days per week (or a combination of the two).
Stop Smoking. There is absolutely no disputing the fact that smoking is not healthy for a person’s heart. It increases the risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, and many other ailments.
Eat a Healthy Diet. Eating a healthy diet is one of the easiest ways to prevent the development of heart disease. A heart-healthy diet can be accomplished by anyone – regardless of your food budget or where you live.
Lose Weight. It doesn’t matter if you are five pounds overweight or if you should lose 50 pounds or more. All levels of weight loss can result in benefits to your heart and vascular system.
Turn off the TV. Turning off the television does not mean you’re not allowed to watch television at all! It simply means that instead of watching television for several hours in a row, periodically turn off the set and take a walk, do housework, or go somewhere that requires physical movement.
Reduce your level of stress. The American Heart Association states that even though stress itself might not be directly related to heart disease, “stress may affect behaviors and factors that are proven to increase heart disease risk: high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, smoking, physical inactivity, and overeating.”
Take your medicine on schedule. If you are supposed to take prescribed medication to help with heart disease or any other medical ailment, make sure to take your medication on time and on schedule. If you have concerns about the medication you are taking, make sure to call your doctor immediately – but do not stop taking your medication without your doctor’s recommendation. Abruptly stopping some types of medication can lead to health-related complications.
Living a heart-healthy lifestyle is not difficult but it may require making some subtle changes to your daily routine. No matter if you have heart disease risk factors or not, a heart-healthy lifestyle results in your feeling healthier and more energetic – and it also promotes a positive outlook on life.