February is Heart Health Month. Now is a good time to evaluate your daily activities and find ways to be kind to your heart. You can make some easy changes to your lifestyle that will go a long way to improving your heart health.
- Don’t Smoke – I know, this one is a no-brainer, and for smokers out there, I understand that it is easier said than done. But remember, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death. Talk to your doctor if you need help quitting – there are ways to do it.
- Get Up And Move – As someone who also sits a lot at work, this one is also hard to do. Your risk of heart failure increases, even if you exercise, if you sit around a lot. I actually set a timer right on my computer to remind me to get up and move around every hour. Every little bit helps.
- Exercise – Exercise doesn’t have to be traditional, gym style exercise. Pick something you like and do that. Whether it’s simply walking the dogs, playing tennis, or even gardening. Get active and stay active. Whatever you do, if you pick something you enjoy doing, you will be more apt to stick with it.
- Healthy Eating – Limit saturated fats and salt in your diet. Instead, go for fruits and veggies, and lean protein. You will stay full longer with high-protein meals and a more colorful plate will give your body the essential vitamins and minerals it needs. Again, and I can’t stress this enough,…if you like it, you will stick with it. Don’t pick a meal plan that you can’t stand just because it is healthy. Eat healthy foods,…but make sure you like what you’re eating.
- Sleep – Studies have shown that long-term sleep problems increase your risk of heart failure. Do what you can to try and sleep well so you wake rested and refreshed. As someone with a small child, I understand that this is sometimes not feasible. But do what you can to try and get enough sleep.