You probably already know that heart health is important. Maybe you’ve even resolved to start better heart-healthy habits. We’ve got five things that you (yes, you) can do right now to improve your heart health and keep those resolutions on track.
These are a few small ways to help you achieve big health goals for your heart. Make this February your best American Heart Month with these sustainable changes!
1- Manage stress with mindfulness exercises (on your phone).
Destressing is more than a way to make life smoother—it can also lower your blood pressure. But what if you don’t have the time for a relaxing bubble bath?
Don’t worry! There are plenty of mindfulness and relaxation apps you can bring anywhere, and many are free. Whether you want to breathe better, live in the moment, or try a digital coloring book, open an app and let the healing begin.
Want to learn more about improving your emotional health? CHPW’s behavioral resource center is here for you anytime.
2- Plan to stay fit with activities you enjoy and find easy.
Staying fit is important for your overall health, but if it feels like a chore, you’re unlikely to keep it up. To start planning a more doable fitness journey, think about the things that get you moving and smiling at the same time. Learn a dance routine on YouTube. Skate with friends. Hike and view beautiful sights. These are all great ways to stay in shape.
You don’t even have to wait until you get home to try a kinder, gentler workout. You can practice heart-healthy habits at work or school. Use the stairs instead of the elevator once per day, or plan a time to take a walk or stretch break.
3- Learn your ideal levels for heart health indicators.
Different gender and age groups have different ideal levels for blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides (energy your body stores to use between meals). Learning what a healthy range looks like for you will help you set better goals for your heart health.
Family history also makes a difference to your bigger heart health picture. Ask family members about your history if you don’t know it. And don’t forget to schedule regular checkups with your doctor.
4- Make plans to see your friends.
Emotional health and physical health may be linked more closely than we realize. For instance, did you know that spending time with friends is good for your heart?
This month, take a few minutes to make your heart happy. Reach out to your favorite people and plan some good old-fashioned hanging out.
Of course, just like your heart, a good relationship thrives when you practice healthy habits. Take a peek at our relationship fitness checklist and commit to improving your emotional health alongside your physical health.
5- Make small diet changes.
You don’t have to go low-fat or low-sodium all at once. Make your heart-healthy diet stick by starting with small changes.
- Wean yourself off whole milk and dairy—slowly! Start with 2-percent products, get used to the taste, then move to 1-percent. Once you’re used to 1-percent, you can graduate to fat-free.
- Buy more lean meats. If you’re not sure where to start, look for cuts that have “loin” or “round” in the name.
- Find spots in your weekly meals for a few extra servings of vegetables or fruit.
- Snack on nuts. The American Heart Association recommends about four servings of unsalted nuts a week. Bring a small handful with you throughout the week and enjoy the heart benefits.