Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Health & Wellness

7 Habits for a Healthy Heart

By  / 
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in America—but it doesn’t have to be.

We all play a valuable role in improving our own cardiovascular health, and it’s never too late to develop better habits. From eating well to exercising regularly, here are seven tips to make a healthy heart a part of your daily routine.

1. Quit smoking.

Habit No. 1: put down the cigarettes. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), cigarette smoking is tied to one out of every five deaths in the United States. Smoking raises the risk of heart disease. The heart and blood vessels are susceptible even to light or occasional smoking and secondhand smoke.   

2. Exercise regularly.

Your heart is a muscle and muscles need exercise to get in shape. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week . Mix it up by combining moderate and vigorous activity in your workout routine. And don’t be afraid to divide it up. According to AHA, you still benefit from your workouts even if you’re dividing them into 10- or 15-minute segments throughout the day.

3. Watch your alcohol consumption.

Drinking too much alcohol on a regular basis can lead to high blood pressure and stroke. AHA recommends limiting drinks to one per day for women and two per day for men.

4. Manage stress.

While the AHA has found no direct link between stress and heart disease, there is evidence that chronic stress can lead to unhealthy choices (such as drinking too much alcohol or overeating) that may lead to elevated blood pressure, and over the long term, that may have adverse health effects. Manage stress in a way that is enjoyable to you and fits your lifestyle, whether it’s through yoga, meditation, exercise, gardening, dancing or other heart-healthy activities.

5. Eat a balanced diet.

You may reduce your risk of heart disease by eating a healthy diet. According to the AHA, you should aim for eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry and fish (skinless), nuts and legumes and non-tropical vegetable oils. In addition, AHA recommends limiting red meat and opting for lean cuts, while also limiting consumption of saturated fat, trans fat, sweets and sugary drinks. 

6. Know your numbers.

Knowledge and prevention may go hand in hand. Talk to your doctor about your overall health and be aware of numbers such as weight/body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose and triglycerides, all of which may help inform you of your risk factors for heart disease.

7. Pay attention to your body’s messages.

If you experience any changes in the way you feel, don’t ignore them. Be on the safe side and talk to your doctor.

Read More In Health & Wellness

It's time to stop worrying about getting old and start enjoying it.
Get Oldspired →