With National Grandparents Day around the corner, there isn’t a better time to discuss heart health. As we age, maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle is as important as ever. However, slowing down our fast-paced lives to analyze our lifestyle is easier said than done. Do yourself (and your grandkids) a favor, and take the first step towards a healthier you by implementing these heart-healthy habits!
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is the first step to living a heart-healthy life. When you have an excess of fatty deposits, especially around the waist, it raises your risk for high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. Maintaining a healthy weight not only reduces your risk for heart disease, but it also provides more energy to enjoy life and keep up with the grandkids.
If you have weight to lose, start small! Losing just 5 to 10 percent of your current weight over six months can help to lower your risk of heart disease.
This Grandparents Day, make some time to be active with your grandchildren. Staying active and exercising regularly is necessary to keep your heart strong, and it’s also a great example to set for your family. Incorporating at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five times a week can lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
It’s easier to stick to an exercise plan when you make it fun! Ask a friend, family member or coworker to join you for one of these active outings:
- Walk or ride your bike around your neighborhood
- Join a walking club at work
- Join a dance class
- Join a sports team, such as softball
Follow a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is one of your best weapons against cardiovascular disease. Creating a diet of whole-grain fiber, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables will provide long-term benefits for your health, including your heart. For recipe inspiration, check out the various heart-healthy recipes provided by the American Heart Association.
Want to learn more about how a healthy diet can improve your heart health? A registered dietician at Greene County Medical Center is happy to answer any of your questions, assess your needs and goals, and develop a plan that’s right for you.
Smoking can be a hard habit to break, but quitting can extend your heart health for many years. Individuals who smoke are at risk for coronary heart disease, hardened arteries, aneurysms, blood clots and stroke. If not for yourself, think of those around you. The link between secondhand smoke and heart disease is just as dangerous, so even if you don’t smoke, be sure to avoid secondhand smoke from others.
The good news is it’s never too late to quit smoking. Even if you already have heart disease, your lungs will begin to heal themselves as soon as you quit.
Monitor Your Cholesterol
Did you know that high cholesterol is one of the most controllable risk factors for heart disease, stroke and heart attack? When you have too much LDL (bad) cholesterol circulating in your blood, it builds up plaque in your veins and arteries that can lead to heart attack and stroke. This is why it’s important to have your cholesterol levels checked by your doctor during your routine physical exam.
Watch Your Blood Pressure
With over 80 million adults in the U.S. currently living with high blood pressure, it’s no wonder that high blood pressure is known as “the silent killer.” High blood pressure can lead to stroke, kidney damage and heart and coronary artery issues.
Are You Ready to Practice Heart-Healthy Habits?
Kickstarting a heart-healthy lifestyle rewards you with a better quality of life and a healthier you. This Grandparents Day, remember the best thing you can do for your family and yourself is to take care of your health and be here for years to come.
Greene County Medical Center’s Cardiac Services team is dedicated to promoting heart health and healthy lifestyles . For more information on living a heart-healthy life, schedule an appointment today!