Steps to Heart HealthThinking about heart health doesn’t have to be daunting. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain that small steps toward a healthier lifestyle can have a big effect.
- Take one step at a time.Even small steps move you toward your overall goal.
- Get help.Working with friends or family will help make the challenges easier, plus you’ll be more accountable with eyes watching!
- Be encouraged by small wins.Did you achieve one heart-healthy thing today? If so, celebrate that as a win and prepare to start fresh the next day.
- Reward yourself. Stress is not only frustrating; it’s also counterproductive to healthy hearts. Take time to do something you enjoy.
Plan for Prevention
As with many conditions, there are controllable and uncontrollable risk factors for heart disease. Learn about your body and history to find out if you have a genetic predisposition, but then focus on the things you can change.
- Eat healthy foods.Everyone can use this advice. Select nutritious foods that you also like and will eat. Review the USDA’s recommendations for older adults to make sure your aging body is getting all the right nutrients.
- Exercise regularly.Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. It also helps prevent falls by improving your strength and balance.
- Keep an eye on blood pressure and cholesterol.You might not realize if your blood pressure or cholesterol are high. Check with your doctor to find out how often you should check them.
- Take your medicine.If you already take medication for blood pressure or cholesterol, or if you have another condition like diabetes, make sure you are taking your medicine according to your doctor’s prescriptions, even if you feel you don’t need it anymore.
- Limit alcohol and don’t smoke.Drinking too much alcohol can increase your blood pressure and cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. If you don't smoke, don't start. If you do smoke, quit as soon as possible. Your doctor can suggest ways to help you quit.