Celebrate American Heart Month in February by incorporating healthy heart habits into your daily routine. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women, so maintaining good heart health is critically important.

The best ways to protect yourself from developing heart disease are straightforward, healthy lifestyle changes. And many of the best heart health practices also have positive benefits for your overall health, not just your heart. To help get you started, we’ve rounded up our best advice.

Top tips for improving your heart health

Exercise — Experts agree that cardiovascular exercise is one of the most effective ways to improve your heart health. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, per week. Moderate exercise can include things like light jogging or hiking, while vigorous exercise includes running and other strenuous activities.

Diet — Expand your diet with lots of fruits and vegetables and reduce your intake of things that are high in saturated fats, sugar, and sodium. When combined, these problem foods can lead to high cholesterol and diabetes, which increase your risk of developing heart disease.

Habits (smoking and drinking) — Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to lower your risk of heart disease. For those that enjoy more than two drinks a day, cutting back can significantly reduce your blood pressure, which benefits your heart and overall health.

Weight — Healthy weight loss is a powerful way to reduce your risk of heart disease. One of the best ways to determine if you need to lose weight is to talk to your provider. They can check your BMI (Body Mass Index) and help determine if you have any risk factors.

Stress and heart health — Lowering stress is an effective way to lower your blood pressure and significantly reduce your risk of heart disease. Boost yourstress resilience by taking time each day to engage in self-care practices.

Self-care practices — Taking just a few moments out of your day to practice self-care can do a lot to reduce stress. Not sure where to get started? Here are a few ideas to consider and discuss with your provider:

  • Read a good book

  • Spend time with friends

  • Enjoy a hot cup of tea

  • Get adequate sleep

  • Practice meditation

Want more tips? Talk to your Vera Whole Health coach about ways you can build up your stress resilience. While you’re there, talk to your provider about your risk factors for heart disease. Together, your provider and Vera health coach will work with you to support your journey toward better heart health.

Don’t forget, we’re here to help. Call to make an appointment today!

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