Thanks to American Heart Month, there’s a lot of information flying around right now about how important it is to take care of our hearts and stay healthy in general. With so much good insight and advice out there, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. So today, we’re going to be super-focused and give you 10 incredibly easy things that you can start doing for your heart right now.
- Walk more. Dedicated exercise is one way to do your heart a favor, but you can get lots of benefits just by working more steps into your day. Park farther away, take a lap around the office, cruise the mall for an extra pass — you name it. A pedometer can help you see how much it adds up.
- Take the stairs. More walking is great. So is skipping the elevator. You might find yourself surprisingly pooped if you aren’t used to it, but your heart (and running legs) will thank you after you’ve built up some stair strength.
- Eat less fat. We’re not talking about an intimidating diet overhaul here…just reducing some of the things in your diet that are pretty much pure fat. Eliminate (or just cut back on) servings of things like butter, heavy creams, and the fat on your meat.
- Cut the salt. Studies continue to show that eliminating just one teaspoon of salt from our diet each day would pay dividends in our health. Again, this isn’t a diet overhaul, just keeping an eye out for chances to reduce salt intake. Pay attention in particular to fast food, processed foods, and the salt shaker for opportunities to cut back.
- Tweak your portions. We tend to eat whatever is on our plates. So next time you’re getting ready to eat, try knocking 15% off of less healthy foods like red meat and throwing an extra 15% of things like fruits and veggies. You’ll improve the healthfulness of your meal without really missing out on anything.
- Buy a water bottle. Hydration is huge. If you have trouble motivating yourself to get enough water into your body, think about picking up a cool new water bottle for inspiration. Here’s a good round-up we found.
- Try something new in the kitchen. One great new dish can really inspire a person to eat healthier across the board. Try cooking up one of these easy, heart-healthy recipies courtesy of the AHA.
- Explore the family tree. Okay, these won’t be the most fun conversations you’ve ever had, but it’s important to be aware of any family history of heart issues (or other medical issues for that matter) that may be prevalent in your family. Speak with older family members about heart challenges they’ve had and see a doctor about what you can do to prevent the same ones.
- Work out. Of course you know this one. If you’ve finished a running program or fallen off the wagon with your one, make today the day you get back on track. Just lace up and get out there. If you need some guidance, grab an app (or fire up an old one), and just start at the beginning.
- Unwind. One of the biggest disservices we do to our hearts is carrying an unhealthy amount of stress with us. Make sure you have something in your life that lets you catch your breath and decompress each day: find a hobby, pet the cat, go for a walk — whatever it takes. This one seems easy, but is so often ignored. Make managing your stress levels a priority!
There’s nothing on this list that you can’t start doing today. Pick a few and start moving yourself towards a more heart-healthy lifestyle. And as always, let us know in the comments if you have additional tips or insights.
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