In this fast paced, instant gratification world of ours, everyone seems to want their desires fulfilled easier, faster and quicker. Think about it, by pressing a few keys on your computer or phone, you can have the answer to any question instantaneously. By punching a few more keys, you can have a product delivered to your home or office in a few hours. However, there are no quick fixes when it comes to your health. The key to having good health is having a steady plan and working it over time everyday. If you follow our tips, you will certainly be headed in the right direction to living a healthy, longer life and your heart will certainly thank you for it.
Invest in a healthy diet - If you are interested in a healthy diet, but unsure where to start, the Mayo Clinic recommends to at least find a diet that includes foods from these major health groups. The Mayo Clinic believes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low dairy products and lean protein are vital to a healthy diet. They also recommend beans, nuts and seeds.
Get enough sleep - We know that eating right and exercise is crucial to being healthy, but the Cleveland Clinic reports getting enough sleep is just as important. Dr. Marc Gillinov, MD, cardiac surgeon at Cleveland Clinic's Heart & Vascular Institute said, “Exactly how sleep influences the coronary arteries is being studied, but we do know that not getting enough sleep is associated with risk factors for heart disease.” Patients who get less than 6 hours of sleep per night tend to have the cardiovascular risks of higher blood pressure, higher blood sugar, greater inflammation and are more obese. The advice from Dr Gillinov and the Cleveland Clinic Heart Center is to,“Respect your body and get 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night”.
Exercise daily - Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health according to the Centers for Disease Control. It is very important to start slowly and if you are concerned about getting hurt, walking is generally safe for most people. Once you've progressed, you can gradually increase your speed to a brisk walk. If you are struggling with chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes or arthritis, it is a good idea to discuss an exercise plan that matches your abilities with your physician. When Zig Ziglar started his workout plan, he used to say that he wanted to run to an extra mailbox everyday. It is not necessarily the length or the time of your workout, it is the consistent daily plan that matters, even if it's just ten minutes per day.
Manage stress - It is not going to be easy, but you must find time to just relax or your mental health may suffer. To pull this off, it will require considerable effort. With cell phones dominating our lives these days, it is a good idea to find time during the day to put your phone and computer away. Once you have a quite space, focus on:
- Relaxing your muscles
- Breathing deep
Put an end to smoking - This is an incredibly difficult task, but it is possible! The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute reports, smoking is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, a condition in which plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries that supply your heart with oxygen rich blood. According to NHLBI, it is tough to quit, but millions have kicked the habit. To quit:
- Establish a plan
- Get support
- Talk with your physician about over the counter medicine to help
- Learn new skills and behavior
- Be prepared for withdrawals and a relapse
Doctor visits - Routine checkups and physicals are an excellent way to help us all stay healthy. Make sure you stay close to your doctor and commit to your necessary checkups, but consider preventative cholesterol, diabetes, and heart checkups as well.
As you begin to restructure your strategy for a healthy heart, we recommend discussing your game plan with your family and physician. By putting forth the effort to take good care of your heart will almost guarantee a healthier future.