January always tends to bring new resolutions, most of which are health related. People join gyms and start healthy eating plans. However, only a small portion of resolutions 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. Recently, the average life expectancy dropped again, for the second year in a row in the United States. Creating a maintaining a heart healthy life is more important than ever.
Know Your Numbers
The first place to start when making heart conscience resolutions is to know where you stand. An easy step is to regularly schedule appointments with your physician to know and monitor numbers such as your weight, BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol, and more. Choosing to live heart-healthy involves playing an active role in your health care. These are all indicators of heart health that can help you determine other goals.
Begin a Regular Exercise Regimen
Exercising may seem like a cliche resolution, but it is not one to be overlooked. A recent study in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Disease even found that one hour of running may translate to an additional seven hours added to a person’s life. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days a week. If you are a beginner, start with realistic exercise goals and work your way up to working out more times a week or for longer periods as you gain strength.
Heart Healthy Diet
A balanced diet is tied to heart health. Be careful of fad diets and total overhauls. Look at your current eating habits and located unhealthy foods you can easily replace with heart healthy ones. An easy place to start is to reduce fried foods or foods high in saturated fat and sodium and replace them with heart-healthy foods like salmon, asparagus, leafy greens, brown rice and almonds.
Keeping Your Resolution
The resolutions listed above are broad categories, but it’s up to you set specific goals that meet your unique needs. Your goals should be realistic and specific. If your goal is vague, you will easily fall off the wagon. Your resolutions must also be simple. The smaller the list, the easier it is to stick with it. And finally, stay patient. You may have cheat days, but remember that improving heart health is a process.
If you or a loved one are living with a heart rhythm disorder, contact Heart Rhythm Consultants. Dr. Dilip Mathew is board certified in Cardiology & Cardiac Electrophysiology and has been serving patients in Sarasota and surrounding cities including Port Charlotte, Venice, Tampa and Sun City Center for over a decade.