Six Simple Steps to a Healthy Heart
By incorporating these simple steps into your life, you can reduce your risk for both heart disease and stroke.
1. Know your numbers
Monitor your cholesterol and blood pressure with a goal of keeping your blood pressure below 130/85, your total cholesterol below 200 and your body mass index between 18.5 and 25.
2. Keep active
Keeping your body moving lowers the risk of heart disease. Regular activity can help to lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and maintain a healthy weight. As little as 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days is recommended. Take a walk or find an exercise program that works best for you.
3. Select nutritious foods
Add a serving of fish each week and a fruit or vegetable to each meal, ideally eating five servings of fruits and/or vegetables each day. Choose lean meats and low-fat dairy products. Select foods that are steamed, broiled, baked, grilled or roasted instead of fried.
4. Maintain your ideal body weight
Overweight women are much more likely to develop heart-related problems, even if they have no other risk factors. Regular exercise and healthy eating habits can help reduce your weight.
5. Lead a tobacco-free lifestyle
Cigarettes are the leading cause of preventable deaths in this country. Women smokers are two to six times more likely to suffer a heart attack as non-smoking women, and the risk increases with the number of cigarettes smoked. Smoking also boosts the risk of stroke. Eliminate your exposure to second-hand smoke. For help quitting, talk to your doctor.
6. Manage stress
Stress is a part of everyone’s life, yet there are ways to reduce it. Regular physical activity can help counteract headaches, sleeplessness and depression brought on by chronic, unmanaged stress. Consult your doctor to find out more.