8 Ways to Be Heart Healthy!
February is American Heart Month. Take this opportunity to make a few small lifestyle changes that can have a big impact on your heart health!
1. Preventative Check-ups - Once a year, schedule a checkup to have your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels checked. Be sure to follow your healthcare professional's recommendations.
2. EXERCISE! - Increase your activity until you're getting a minimum of 30 minutes per day. Variety is key; take fitness classes, walk/jog, get a personal trainer. Working out with someone helps you to be consistent and accountable. Did you know we offer personal training in our centers? You can train one on one, with a partner or in a group! Contact any recreation center for details!
3. Stay Hydrated - Take a water bottle with you! Your body will let you know if you need water.
4. Eat Healthy - Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Make the right choices at the grocery store. You'll end up eating whatever you have in your house, so leave the potato chips and cookies behind!
5. Control Cholesterol - Eating foods high in saturated fat, trans fat or cholesterol can lead to high LDL cholesterol. To help keep your cholesterol levels down, eat foods low in saturated fat and trans fat, such as lean chicken or turkey, fruits and veggies, low-fat or fat-free dairy products and whole grains. When cooking, use olive oil. Studies have shown olive oil lowers LDL cholesterol.
6. Lower the Sodium - To help lower high blood pressure, watch your salt intake. It may be disguised in food labels as sodium alginate, sodium sulfite, sodium caseinate, disodium phosphate, sodium benzoate, sodium hydroxide, monosodium glutamate (MSG), or sodium citrate.
7. Maintain a Healthy Weight - Excess weight increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. One way to determine if you are at a healthy weight is by looking at your BMI (Body Mass Index). Click here to find your BMI.
8. Stay Positive - Lowering your stress level can decrease the risk of heart disease. You can do this by staying positive. How do you stay positive? Reward yourself for accomplishments on a daily basis. Write a list each day of things you are grateful for. Give someone a compliment. Positive energy and thoughts are contagious!