Coming up with a plan to keep your heart healthy isn’t the hard part: carrying it out is. Here are 6 simple ideas that will make it a whole lot easier.

Schedule Some Play Time

  • Adults need to exercise at least 30 minutes five days a week
  • By making exercise a fun activity, you’re more likely to do it
  • Playing a sport, walking the dog, or even walking around the mall can help
  • Aim for 30 minutes of daily exercise
  • Break up the time if needed: 10 minutes in the morning, lunch, and before dinner

How intense should it be? According to Susan Moores, RD, MS, of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, people need to “get their heart rate up so they’re somewhat breathless but can still carry on a conversation.”

Set Diet Guidelines

Fruits and Vegetables

  • Reduce your risk of heart issues by half by limiting bad fat
  • Switch to low-fat meat and dairy
  • Change to healthier fats like canola and olive oils
  • Avoid salt and processed foods
  • Follow the American Heart Association’s daily limit of sodium: 1,500 mg
  • Consume 2.5 cups of fruits and vegetables daily
  • Fruits and veggies lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer
  • Whole grains help lowering blood pressure and cholesterol
  • They may also help prevent type 2 diabetes
  • Whole grains include whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, corn tortillas, and oatmeal

Find Anxiety Relief

  • Stress is a significant factor in bad heart health and other issues
  • Find time to relax and unplug daily
  • Step away from the computer, the phone, and other distractions
  • Recharge your batteries and find both energy and calm

Attain a Healthy Body Weight

Tape measure on digital scale, tablets, dumbbells and muesli, healthy food and slimming concept

  • Gaining weight is easy but also harmful
  • Obesity raises the risk of heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure
  • Losing a few pounds can make a huge difference
  • Weight loss can lead to more energy and better sleep
  • Avoid foods with empty calories like soda
  • Eat nutrient-rich foods like mixed nuts
  • Figure out your daily caloric intake and eat fewer calories to lose weight
  • Aim to exercise daily (at least 30 minutes a day)

Quit Smoking

  • If you don’t smoke, keep it that way
  • Cancer and lung disease, often caused by smoking, increase the risk of heart disease
  • There are several methods available for people who want to quit smoking
  • Try whatever method works for you
  • Try medicine, counseling, support groups, or a combination of all of three

Meet with your Doctor

  • Regular cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure checks are essential
  • High blood pressure and high cholesterol are the “silent” killers
  • Unless you get tested and checked, you won’t usually know that you have them
  • Talk to your doctor about how often you need a heart checkup

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