Great Tips For Heart Health Month
Considering that by February most people have forgotten their short-lived New Year’s resolutions, it’s a perfect time to observe Heart Health Month and make changes in your life. Since 1963, the month has been an opportunity to learn about combating heart and cardiovascular disease, which remains the country’s leading killer. With this in mind, a few helpful tips and some dedication can make a difference in living a healthier life now and extending your golden years. “Simply thinking positively will not get the job done,” says Joseph Piscatella, an authority on heart-healthy habits and best-selling author of ten books, including the new “Positive Mind, Healthy Heart: Take Charge of Your Cardiac Health, One Day at a Time.” “You need to take action and keep on doing it in order to develop new habits,” he stresses. If you’re just starting out adopting new lifestyle choices to strengthen your heart, you first need to set realistic goals. By setting explicit, achievable goals, you’ll have an easier time adopting good habits. Unrealistic expectations ultimately can do more harm than good. Once you get rolling, here are a few points to help guide you to better heart health: * Think of Your Family: “Take some time to think about your kids or grandkids,” says Piscatella. “They need you to lead by example.” Motivation sometimes can be difficult to muster when starting to make significant lifestyle changes. What better way to push yourself than to think about how it might benefit your family? * Forget Candy, Try Fruit: Diet is a big part of enhancing heart strength. Eating only broccoli and carrots isn’t necessary, but remember that many snack foods are high in trans fats and calories. Substituting apples, bananas, and other fruits for fattier snack foods is a great way to kickstart your new healthy lifestyle. * Try Walking: We do it daily, but not all of us do it enough. You don’t necessarily need to hit the gym — simply dedicating a small block of the day to a pleasant walk can make a major difference in getting your heart pumping. Once you’re comfortable walking, consider upgrading to a brisker pace. Eventually, you should feel a difference in your overall health. * No More Crash Diets: The plight of dieters has been well-documented. According to Piscatella’s book, “Positive Mind, Healthy Heart,” 97 percent of crash dieters re-gain their weight and more within a year. This is particularly true of dieters attempting to drastically reduce daily calorie consumption. Simply choosing different types of foods and making gradual exercise changes is more sensible. Before beginning any exercise program, consult your doctor. With our flimsy New Year’s resolutions already in our rearview mirror, Heart Health Month couldn’t come at a better time. By adopting a few simple ideas starting in February, this year could turn out to be a major milestone for your heart.