Cardiovascular health is critical for prevention of a host of serious conditions, including heart disease, stroke, heart attack, heart failure, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Also, having a healthy heart allows you to stay active and feel great as you age.
1. Know Your Numbers
The first step in finding out how to keep your heart healthy is getting a checkup with some crucial numbers: blood sugar, blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and body weight. The doctor can test your numbers and give you recommendations on the ideal numbers for a person of your age and gender.
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Losing weight if you are overweight or obese–and keeping it off if you aren’t–is an important step to keep you heart healthy. The more extra pounds you carry, the harder your heart has to work, putting undue strain on your cardiovascular system.
3. Get Plenty of Exercise
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that healthy adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week (roughly 20 minutes a day, or 30 minutes 5 days per week). If you aren’t physically active, it’s OK to start slow. For example, take a short walk each day after dinner, increasing the distance and speed as you feel more comfortable.
4. Eat a Healthy Diet
You should strive to eat a variety of nutritious foods, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy. For optimum heart health, it’s also important to avoid salt, deep fried foods, sweets, and fats.
5. If You Smoke, Quit
Smoking cessation is the most important thing you can do for your overall health. Tobacco use, including smokeless tobacco, not only damages your heart and lungs but dramatically increases your risk of developing cancer.
6. Manage Stress
If you suffer from chronic stress, these feelings can take a toll on your heart health. The good news is that you can manage your stress with simple self-care tactics. Make sure to get enough sleep each night, and practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing. Talk to a therapist if you are unable to manage your stress on your own.
7. Limit Alcohol Use
While light alcohol use (one drink per day) can help boost good cholesterol levels, too much drinking can seriously damage your heart. It’s important to remember that one drink consists of either a 12-ounce beer, five ounce glass of wine, or one ounce of spirits.
Contact Cardiology Consultants of Southwest Florida today to schedule your appointment and allow us to help you with your cardiovascular health.