Today, your heart will beat 100,000 times. It will pump approximately 1.5 gallons of blood through your body every minute. The heart is the engine of life — and when the engine fails, it’s not good. Heart disease is the worldwide leading cause of death in both men and women. Fortunately, we have the power to strengthen our hearts and make daily decisions that keep our hearts as healthy as possible. Let’s take a look at 5 simple steps that can improve heart health in 2023:

Be Active

Did you know only 23% of Americans get the proper amount of physical activity? Physicians recommend 150 minutes of exercise per week. While this number may seem intimidating, don’t let it stop you from introducing more physical activity to your life! Consider what you love to do. Try daily walks with a friend, joining a pickleball league, or free yoga classes online. When you find an activity you LOVE, it will be easier to stick with it!

Eat Well

The best diet for reducing the risk of heart disease includes a bounty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish, poultry, and vegetable oils. To improve blood pressure and lower cholesterol, avoid red meat, refined carbohydrates, added sugar, sodium, and foods with trans fat. When it comes to a well-balanced diet, moderation is key. Your primary care physician can help recommend strategies and goals for healthy eating in the new year!

Be Smoke-free

Even if you have smoked for years, you’ll see immediate health benefits as soon as you quit. While withdrawal symptoms can be tough, it will be worth it when you realize that you are breathing easier than before after just two weeks without a cigarette. It’s worth noting that even occasional or social smoking is a poor health choice, and the best thing we can do for our bodies is to abstain from smoking at all.

Get Good Rest

A good night’s sleep will do wonders for your heart! The key to healthy sleep is to create a daily rhythm that allows for 7-8 hours of sleep per night. If you struggle to fall asleep at a good time, try to cut off screens at a certain time and relax with a bath, reading a book, or meditation prior to sleep. Even in the winter months, try to squeeze in 30 minutes of sunshine per day – it will help you crash at night!

Reduce Stress

Did you know that Monday is the most common day for heart attacks? Stress puts a huge strain on your heart. With all the demands of work, life, and family, it can feel very daunting to get a handle on stressors in our lives. The good news? Focussing on the other 4 factors (good sleep, exercise, and healthy diet) will also serve to reduce your stress and make you feel more in control of your health and well-being.

A heart-healthy lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight. It takes consistency and commitment, but it’s not impossible! We’re all able to change and feel stronger, healthier, and happier with habits that support our overall health.  Need help getting some of these changes implemented in your life? Make an appointment with your primary care physician today!

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