According to Dr. Lloyd-Jones, a volunteer with the American Heart Association (AHA), improving your heart health can have a huge positive impact on your overall health. This is because a healthier heart typically has a direct correlation to lower risk of developing stroke, heart attack, and high blood pressure among other cardiovascular conditions. With that in mind, here are three simple ways for improving heart health in the New Year:
Shed Excess Weight
Figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that 60 to 70% of Americans are either obese or overweight. This is unfortunate because excess weight predisposes one to an increased risk of developing heart disease. To reduce this health risk, the AHA recommends:
- Tracking calorie intake
- Reducing daily calorie intake
- Increasing the number of calories burned daily (preferably through exercise)
- Monitoring your body mass index (BMI)
- Setting realistic weight loss goals
Some simple but effective exercises you can perform include jogging, swimming, aerobics, swimming pool aerobics, strength training, hiking, cycling and dancing. Create and religiously maintain an activity diary with information such as the type of physical activity and length of time spent exercising. Doing so will help you remain motivated as well as try new physical activities.
A healthy and balanced diet is vital to improving heart health. As such, you should avoid foods that contain high levels of sugar, sodium, trans fats, saturated fats, and cholesterol. Instead of such foods, prepare and eat meals that contain whole grains, 2 to 3 servings of fat-free or low-fat dairy products daily, 3 to 5 servings of vegetables daily, and 4 to 5 servings of fruits daily. On the protein front, go for lean meat, seafood, or poultry and consume no more than 3 to 6 oz. daily. Eat a similar amount of fish at least twice weekly as well as 3 to 5 servings of unsalted nuts over the same period. According to the AHA, your daily intake of fat and oil (preferably liquid oils), sugary drink and sodium should be limited to 2 to 3 servings, 70 calories and 1,500 mg, respectively. What’s more, you should keep a food diary that includes details like type of food, portion size, calorie amount and time of day.
Data published by the AHA shows that 50% of Americans do not complete the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week. This is unhealthy because it makes a person susceptible to cardiovascular disease. For this reason, adults should complete 150 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity per week (30 minutes for five days). Additionally, you should complete at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity weekly and twice-weekly muscle-strengthening exercise sessions. If you have high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol levels, the AHA recommends completing about 40 minutes of moderate to intense exercises 3 or 4 days per week.
As the nation’s premiere provider of Holter monitors and cardiac event monitoring, Cardiac Monitoring Service recommends that one of your primary New Year’s goals should be to improve your heart health. Some of the things you can do to achieve this goal include shedding excess weight, adopting a healthy and balanced diet, as well as completing at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity every week.