With summertime over and colder weather ahead, it’s time to get those healthy heart habits in full swing this fall. While it’s tempting to stay indoors and eat comfort food as the temperature decreases, it’s important you stay active, eat right and avoid any and all risk factors associated with heart disease – including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and smoking. It’s been estimated that around 47% of Americans have at least one out of those three risk factors, but, to ensure you’re staying healthy this fall, and fighting heart disease, we wanted to offer you a couple of heart healthy tips you can implement into your routine!
Diet and moderation. Everyone’s preferred diet is different, but it’s essential to make sure it’s balanced and full of fresh foods and healthy fats. Add some variety to your plate with dark, leafy greens, complex carbs and whole grains so you’re able to maintain a healthy diet that’s suitable for you. Although it seems obvious, check your food labels to make sure you know exactly what you’re consuming, and avoid trans fats, saturated fats and processed foods in general.
Keep your heart happy. As we all know, stress is inevitable at times. While it affects each individual differently, effectively managing it is crucial. In order to reduce this stress, it’s important to be aware of it and do what makes you happy. Stress management, meditation, breathing exercises, or taking your dog for a walk could work for you. If you’re a heart attack or stroke survivor, it’s vital to incorporate all of these tips and try to improve your heart health as much as possible. According to the American Heart Association, researchers found that dog owners experienced lower rates of death from heart attacks or strokes – which could be due to an increase in exercise, responsibility, and decrease in loneliness or sadness. Even without a dog, try different ways to get outdoors and expose yourself to what makes you feel at ease!
Exercise and physical activity. We know life gets busy, and time slips away between work, school, caring for your loved ones, and other activities. However, even if it’s a little at a time, it’s really important to stay active and make time for exercise. Listen to your body, do what you’re comfortable with and make an extra effort to walk and exercise a bit more. With this in mind, it’s important to monitor your heart rate to ensure you’re in the target zone.
Are you getting enough sleep? Sleep is essential for staying healthy. While many times we associate sleep with energy, we should really be thinking more about long-term effects and potential health concerns that could arise if we don’t get enough sleep. Health problems due to lack of sleep – including high-blood pressure, drastic weight gain, and type 2 diabetes – could lead to an increased risk in heart attack, heart disease and stroke. To ensure you’re getting enough sleep, make it a priority and stick to a consistent routine. Before getting in bed, try to relax and avoid electronics.
If you’re in need of a lifestyle change, think about what your current routine looks like, where you have room for improvement, and don’t be afraid to alter it! Get out there, get active and eat right! If you feel so inclined, show us how you’re staying #HeartHealthy this fall by tagging us on Facebook and Twitter.
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