Heart health can be easier to achieve than you might think. It is not about grueling workouts and living on bland food, but lifestyle choices that help you feel alive and vital and make your heart sing.
It’s empowering to know that 80 to 90 percent of heart disease is preventable. Here’s how to stay healthy with some good-for-you habits.
Choose exercise you enjoy and that fits into your life. For instance, if you are not a morning person and don’t enjoy exercising alone, scheduling a 5 a.m. jog isn’t realistic, but an exercise class with friends could be the ticket. It doesn’t matter what exercise you do, it just matters that you do something.
You don’t have to go on a “diet.” Instead, make heart-healthy foods part of your lifestyle. Be aware of your decisions on what to eat, and know that taking care of your heart with healthy food is not a punishment, but a gift to your overall wellbeing. I assure you, no one ever had a heart attack from not eating the last donut in the box.
Listen to what your heart is trying to tell you. As women, we tend to feel our emotions in our hearts, so pay attention to how you are feeling and know that it matters. Sorrow, anger, hostility and pessimism can increase the risk of heart disease. Exercise, yoga or laughing with friends are great ways to relieve stress. Seek help if you think you might need it. We should all be able to laugh a little, every single day.
Heart health can be yours when you make a plan to get there. You can do it. The time to start is right now.
This post was written by Suzanne Steinbaum, DO, Director, Women and Heart Disease at Lenox Hill Hospital.
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