January always tends to bring new resolutions, most of which are health-related. Many people join gyms and start healthy eating plans. However, only a small portion of resolution-makers succeed in changing their lifestyle.
Committing to a heart-healthy lifestyle can seem like a daunting task, but improving your heart health can increase the quality and length of your life. Below are a few heart-healthy resolutions to get you started.
Know and manage your risk factors
Knowing your heart disease risk factors is the first step in getting healthy. Learning which ones you can manage or change and which ones are beyond your control puts you ahead of the game. You can’t do anything about your age, race, gender, or family history of heart disease, but you can change your diet, lose weight, and quit smoking.
Make exercise a part of your daily routine
Just thirty minutes of exercise a day can make a difference in how you feel, your weight, and of course your heart health. Regular exercise strengthens your heart over time, just as it does with other muscles in your body. It also helps your heart pump blood throughout the body more efficiently, which allows you to maintain normal blood pressure and resist heart disease. You don’t have to join a gym to get started, either. Going for a walk, dancing in your living room, or taking a yoga class can be just as effective.
When you eat healthier, you lose weight and nourish your heart. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains. Avoid processed foods and most canned foods (they are usually very high in sodium). If you do eat things like canned beans or tuna fish, use a small strainer and rinse it first; this removes at least some of the sodium. Read the labels. If you can’t pronounce it, you probably don’t want it in your body.
Keep up with your numbers
Knowing your numbers means that you need to see your doctor regularly. He or she can give you that important information including:
- Blood pressure
- A1C (diabetes)
- Cholesterol (HDL and LDL)
Work with your doctor to devise a plan for getting your numbers into healthy ranges or keeping them there. Getting regular check-ups will help you keep up with your numbers, so you can know what is working and what you need to change.
If you or a loved one are living with a heart rhythm disorder such as atrial fibrillation, contact Heart Rhythm Consultants, P.A. Our team of EP doctors has been serving patients in Sarasota and surrounding cities including Port Charlotte, Venice, Tampa, and Sun City Center for over a decade.