While spending more time at the gym and picking up a few healthier eating habits to lose the annual holiday weight gain are great short-term goals, it can be easy to lose focus and fall back into old habits once the first few pounds start shedding.
You are more likely to stay motivated if you link your resolution to a bigger, life-changing goal, such as improving your heart health for the years to come.
As you say goodbye to 2016 and welcome the New Year, try gaining better heart health in 2017 one simple step at a time...
5 Tips To Improve Heart Health In The New Year
1. Reduce Stress:
Studies have shown a connection between stress and heart attacks. In addition, stress contributes to heart disease, especially for those with type-A personalities. Having excess stress can also contribute to people picking up unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking, and insomnia.
Help manage your stress by:
- Understanding your stressors so you can deal with them directly
- Change the things that are within your control
- Use stress-reducing tactics such as exercise and deep breathing
2. Learn About Your Heart Health Family History
Knowing your family history of heart health is critical in understanding your own risk factors. In addition, your doctor can better treat you to prevent heart disease if he/she is aware of your family history.
It’s important for your doctor to know:
- If there is a family history of high blood pressure, especially at an early age.
- If there is any history of a heart attack in a male before age 50 or female before age 60.
3. Commit to Healthier Eating
What you eat plays a substantial role in heart health. Limiting red meat intake and certain dairy products like whole milk, cream, and butter is a good start in the right direction. Other tips to improve heart health through diet include:
- Eating more fish and chicken in your weekly diet.
- Incorporate 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables into your daily diet.
- Eat whole grains instead of processed grains as much as possible.
- Limit cholesterol from egg yolks to just once a week or avoid all-together if your cholesterol is high.
4. Get More Exercise
Research shows you can increase your life span by two hours for every hour of exercise. Getting 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least 4 days a week is one of the best ways to stay healthy. Get the most benefit for your heart out of your weekly workouts with these tips:
- Work out at the same time every day so that it becomes a part of your standard routine.
- Exercise enough to sweat and increase your heart rate
- Do an aerobic activity that you enjoy
5. Regularly Monitor Your Blood Pressure
- If your blood pressure is abnormally high during routine doctor visits, consider getting a home blood pressure monitor to track your numbers daily.
- Know what the normal range is: 120 over 80.
- If prescribed blood pressure medication, ensure you take the recommended daily dosage.
- Keep track of your blood pressure daily or weekly in order to help you and your doctor get your numbers in normal range.