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10 Ways to Take Charge of Your Heart Health

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Community News & People in the News

Published on November 29, 2017 with No Comments

Use the following tips – 10 Ways to Take Charge of Your Heart Health – to embark on a heart-healthy lifestyle to fight heart disease.

1. Schedule a Yearly Checkup 

Your heart is in your hands. Each year on your birthday, schedule a checkup to have your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels checked, and ask your doctor to help you reach or maintain a healthy weight. Be sure to follow your healthcare professional’s recommendations, including taking prescribed medications as directed.

2. Get Physical

Step, march or jog in place for at least 15 minutes a day while watching your favorite TV shows. Increase your activity by five minutes each week until you’re getting a minimum of 30 minutes most days of the week.

If exercise and diet do not get you to your goal, ask your doctor about adding medication.

Keep your numbers in check: Get Physical

3. Drink More Water

Take a water bottle with you wherever you go. It’ll keep you hydrated and the bottle’s weight will strengthen your arms.

4. Eat Healthy

Keep packages of unhealthy food hidden. Put raw veggies and fruits in front in the refrigerator and healthy snacks in the front of the pantry, so that’s what you see first. If you grab healthy foods for a minimum of 21 times, healthy choices will become a habit.

Also, look for the American Heart Association red and white heart-check mark. This easy, reliable grocery shopping tool helps you identify foods that can be part of a sensible eating plan.
Keep your numbers in check: Diet and Nutrition

5. Control Cholesterol

Eating foods high in saturated fat, trans fat or cholesterol can lead to high blood cholesterol. To help keep your cholesterol levels down, eat foods low in saturated fat and trans fat, such as lean chicken or turkey (roasted or baked, with skin removed), fruits and veggies, low-fat or fat-free dairy products and whole grains.

Look for cookbooks that focus on heart health in your local bookstore and check out the American Heart Association’s recipe section at www.heart.org

6. Cut Down on Salt

To help lower high blood pressure, watch your salt intake. It may be disguised in food labels as sodium alginate, sodium sulfite, sodium caseinate, disodium phosphate, sodium benzoate, sodium hydroxide, monosodium glutamate (MSG), or sodium citrate.

7. Quit Smoking

Try this four-step way to kick your habit:

On Day 1, cut the number of cigarettes you smoke by half

On Day 3, cut the number of cigarettes you smoke in half again

And on Day 5, cut your smoking in half again

On your Quit Day… quit!

 8. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Excess weight increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. To achieve steady, painless weight loss, take it easy. Each day, if you eat 200-300 calories less than you would normally consume, and exercise at least 30 minutes on most or all days of the week, you’ll get closer to your goal and be able to achieve weight loss that’s steady and painless.

 9. Stay Positive

If you get off your exercise schedule, have a cigarette, or eat a fattening meal, immediately get back on track toward re-establishing a healthy lifestyle.

10. Give Yourself Credit

To maintain momentum with exercising, losing weight, or quitting smoking, keep track of your achievements and reward yourself by doing something you enjoy.

For more information, visit www.heart.org.

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