John J. Diak, CFP®
The Right Way to Heart Health
Your heart affects every aspect of your life. Take care of it and help ensure it lasts a lifetime – a long one.
There are many ways that you can stay heart healthy, and they don’t all have to be about counting calories and exercising for hours. You can keep things simple, make small changes, and have a large impact on your heart health, all while helping to limit and reduce your risks for heart disease.
The Right Sleep Most experts recommend at least 7 hours of sleep each night. It is not only the hours that matter but the quality of sleep. It is important to rest and let your body heal and repair itself. So get cozy and comfy and help reduce the stress on your heart by catching some quality ZZZs.
The Right Diet There are so many aspects of your diet that affect your heart. Fat – cholesterol. Sodium - blood pressure. Sugar - blood sugar. Clean fuel makes the heart run best. So be sure to watch your saturated fats (fatty meats, full-fat dairy) and eliminate trans fats (processed foods, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils) from your diet. Keep your sodium consumption within a healthy range (less than 2,300 mg a day). Swap processed carbs for fiber-rich whole grains. A simple way to improve your diet overall is to eat more whole, plant-based foods, and less processed foods.
The Right Moves Any movement is better than no movement at all. It is recommended to try to get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderately intense activity every week. The most important thing is to pay attention to how much time you spend seated at work, in your car, and at home, and try to break that time up with some type of activity. It doesn’t have to be done in a gym. You can go for a walk, dance, or play outside with your kids. Keep it simple, 30 minutes a day, five days a week, and you will reach your goal.
The Right Numbers It is more than just a number on a scale. It is about being healthy and watching other numbers like your BMI (Body Mass Index), body fat percentage, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugars. Talk with your doctor about what healthy numbers look like for you and start setting goals and an action plan to get you there.
The Right Lifestyle It has been said a thousand times, and you can count this as one-thousand-and-one – stop smoking. Smoking and second-hand smoke are bad for your heart. Find a program and stick with it. For help check out http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco. You also need to avoid drinking too much. The recommended amount for men is two cups of alcohol per day and one cup per day for women.
The Right Mindset Do more of what you love. Reduce stress by talking, laughing, and spending time with the people you love. Being happy is good for your heart.
Take small, simple steps to keep your heart healthy. You can’t make all the changes overnight, and it will take time and effort. Get support from your friends and family and seek out advice and help from your doctor. Celebrate every step and milestone. You and your heart will be better for it.
Sources: http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/healthy_living.htm http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/prevention-15/heart-healthy/12-tips-for-better-heart-health