Staying heart healthy in 2015
Every year, the American Heart Association encourages us to recommit to smart choices—like getting active, cutting back on fast food, or scheduling a check-up—to stay heart healthy. Yet, like New Year’s resolutions, too often we let these good habits fall to the wayside. Here are a few tips to help you stay heart healthy:
•Watch your blood pressure: High blood pressure puts strain on your heart, arteries and kidneys—increasing your risk for heart disease or stroke. Some simple ways to reduce your blood pressure include watching what you eat, exercising regularly and reducing your stress level.
•Manage your cholesterol: Cholesterol causes plaque buildup, which can clog your arteries and heighten your chances of heart disease. As with blood pressure, making lifestyle changes—like eating healthier or staying active—can help decrease your cholesterol levels and keep you healthy. Know your numbers and have your levels checked by your doctor.
•Eliminate bad habits: When you smoke or use tobacco, your heart must work harder to supply oxygen to your body—amplifying your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Eliminating this bad habit will help you become heart healthier.
•Keep moving: Staying active helps strengthen your heart. Consider taking the stairs, walking your dog around the block, cleaning the house or working in the yard to help increase your daily physical activity. Weight control is key to keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol at healthy levels—and improving your length and quality of life.
•Eat healthier: Try to implement a heart-healthy diet. This includes reducing your salt intake, cutting back on processed and fast foods like French fries and candy and incorporating omega-3 fatty acids like fish into your diet. Remember, if you control your eating habits and maintain a healthy weight, you can lower your blood pressure, too.
For more information on how you can become heart healthy, visit the American Heart Association atheart.org.