Updated: Mar 3
By LaLisa Carpenter, FNP-C
February is American Heart Month, a time when all people can focus on their cardiovascular health. We know you’re busy! We want to help. Here are a few tips for better heart health in the New Year.
1. Take a 10 minute walk. If you don’t exercise at all, a brief walk is a great way to start. If you do, it’s a good way to add more exercise to your day. Eventually, try to move more and sit less. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise every week.
2. Learn your health history by talking to your family. Know your risks and talk to your doctor about ways you can be as healthy as possible.
3. Eat a healthy diet by making healthier choices. Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Eat less salt and saturated fat. Don’t skip breakfast. Have a handful of healthy nuts. Walnuts, almonds and peanuts are good for your heart.
4. Rethink your drink. Substitute water for sugary drinks to reduce calories. Cutting out just one soda or latte a day can save you 100 or more calories a day. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
5. Quit smoking. Start your commitment today to quit smoking for the people you love. Take the first step and call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for FREE support.
6. Take medications as directed. If you take medication to treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes, follow your health care provider’s instructions carefully. If you don’t understand the directions for a medication, talk to your health care provider or pharmacist. Never stop a medication that was prescribed to you.
7. Monitor your blood pressure at home. Self-measured blood pressure monitors are easy and safe to use and provide valuable information for your health care provider.
8. Wash your hands often. Scrubbing up with soap and water often during the day is a great way to protect your heart and health. The flu, pneumonia, COVID-19 and other infections can be very hard on the heart.
9. Maintain a healthy weight. People who are overweight have a higher risk for heart disease. Carrying extra weight can put extra stress on the heart and blood vessels.
10. Count your blessings. Taking a moment each day to acknowledge the blessings in your life is one way to start tapping into other positive emotions. These have been linked with better health, longer life, and greater well-being.