Adopting healthy habits can be your best defense against heart disease, and may also help prevent heart attack and stroke. Here are some of the best things you can do for a healthier heart:
1. Manage your blood pressure
High blood pressure causes constant strain on the heart. If your blood pressure is consistently higher than 130/80, talk to your doctor about the steps you can take to lower your numbers.
Follow this simple checklist for managing blood pressure >
2. Control your cholesterol
A healthy diet and exercise can help control cholesterol levels. One way to help keep cholesterol in check is to reduce the amount of fried and processed foods you eat. Replace them with more plant-based foods, whole grains and foods low in saturated fat.
Make any of these 7 heart-healthy recipes >
3. Lose weight
If you're overweight, even a 10% drop in your weight can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It can also reduce your risk of diabetes. Talk to your primary care provider or cardiologist to identify a target weight.
Learn about our bariatric and metabolic surgery program >
Ideally, you should exercise for at least 30 minutes, 5 times a week. But if you're strapped for time, even moving more in 10-minute intervals can help. Every bit counts. Dance while you're cooking or folding the laundry, or take a brisk walk after dinner.
Try these 4 exercises to stay active at home >
5. Stop smoking
Smoking is one of the worst things you can do to your heart. Just one cigarette a day increases your chance of developing heart disease, as well as other chronic conditions.
Need help quitting? Learn about our smoking cessation program >
6. Calm down
Stress is not healthy. If you're stressed out, chances are that your heart is, too. In addition to the negative health effects of stress on your body, high levels of stress tend to promote unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, drinking alcohol and overeating. We know it's not always easy to calm down when you're feeling overwhelmed or anxious. Life is chaotic sometimes! But meditation can be one outlet for you to find a sense of calm and peace in your life.
Here are some meditation techniques to help keep you calm >
Need Help with Making Lifestyle Changes?
If you're struggling to change your unhealthy habits or are at risk for heart disease, we can help. Temple cardiologists collaborate with nutritionists, genetic counselors, endocrinologists and exercise specialists to help guide you toward good heart health.
Make an appointment with Temple's Preventive Cardiology & Integrative Heart Health Program today. You can call us at 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) or request an appointment.