February is the American Heart Association’s Heart Month and the bulk of what goes into preventing and managing heart disease has to do with our individual behaviors. Let me run through the list of lifestyle actions people need to take besides diet and exercise to prevent or manage heart disease:
Controlling cholesterol levels, reducing salt intake, controlling blood pressure, exercising regularly, preventing or managing diabetes, not smoking and reducing stress.
The problem for many people is that there are so many changes, it can seem like an impossible task—and so they do nothing.
So let’s put the big changes aside- and instead look at the small and simple actions that you can take. I’m going to give you a laundry list of actions.
1. Go have your blood pressure checked at a local pharmacy. It’s free and important for you to know
2. Walk for 10-15 minutes today. Anywhere (around the house, at the mall).
3. Drink one extra 8 oz glass of water
4. If you smoke – smoke at least 1 less cigarette or better yet don’t smoke.
5. Cut back on junk food today (high fat, high sugar foods) ,
6. Cut back on salt today – try not adding add salt to your meals
7. Take 10-15 minutes and just relax your mind and body. Listen to music, take a causal walk, or read
Now doing these things just for today will not prevent heart disease? But if you keep any or all of these simple actions up you will over time have a big impact on the health of your heart.