Want to be good to your heart, but unsure where to start? It’s easier than you may think.
Being heart-healthy involves eating well, moving more and making smart choices.
Healthy eating will help you control your cholesterol and weight. A heart-healthy diet is low in sodium, fat and cholesterol but high in fruits, vegetables and fiber.
It pays to get active. Walking is easy, safe, and the single most effective form of exercise to improve heart health. Studies show walking for as few as 30 minutes a day provides heart health benefits.
Being good to your heart also involves not smoking, stress management and getting regular check-ups with your doctor and dentist. Managing your stress is imperative for overall health. Studies show that not smoking and staying up to date on routine care leads to improved overall health. Now is the time to build healthy habits that will last a lifetime.
Want to get healthy by moving more? Read on for some easy tips.
Being physically active has many benefits including: more energy, less stress, feeling healthy and weight loss or weight control. How much activity you do and what type should always be discussed with your healthcare provider before starting an exercise regimen. Adding physical activity in your daily life is much easier and has similar health benefits of traditional exercise.
Here are some ways to sneak in activity throughout your day. Cleaning and doing housework are great ways to keep moving and check items off your to-do list. Squeeze in a 10-30 minute walk before breakfast, after dinner, or both. Taking the stairs is a sure fire way to burn some extra calories. Plan in 5 minutes every few hours to take a break and stretch, you will return refreshed and focused. Add a few extra blocks to your daily commute, whether you park further or get off the bus early, and those extra steps will add up. Plan activities to de-stress which keep you moving like going hiking, dancing or sightseeing on foot. Keeping moving throughout your day offers the benefits of exercise and is more manageable than a full exercise regimen.
How will you add in a few extra steps today?
I get lots of questions about weight loss and weight management I guess that’s the name of the game. Weight seems to be the most pressing nutrition issue for most people. I think that the most important thing to remember is that even little steps matter. Any step you take (in the right direction) is one step closer to a healthier you. We all have areas for improvement, but research finds (as have I) that making smaller more deliberate changes are more successful long-term. This makes sense, right?? The behaviors you have that you want to change are not recently acquired habits or things that changed or took hold overnight. Changes like this are gradual and must be handled as such. The suggestions I often give (and the tips I use) can be classified into 2 categories: Lifestyle and Consumption. It is important to work in a few changes to your normal routine at a time. Say 2-3 suggestions every 2-3 weeks. Or if that seems too difficult or stressful, start with one and keep at it until 1-2 weeks after it feels easy. Make sure each change sinks in before you mix up the routine again. Remember, the goal is long-term and sustainable health benefits so put in the time and do the work.
- Incorporate more walking and/or stairs into your day – search them out!!! Whether its parking further from your destination or taking a quick ‘stair break’ when you need a minute of solitude any of these count
- Plan! Planning your day including exercise, meals, errands can drastically reduce your stress and make sure you fit in time to take care of yourself
- Track your day- food, beverages and exercise. WW followers know that tracking diligently makes a huge difference in their success. There is no ‘right/wrong’ way to track but keep your eye on portion sizes and remember… if it goes in your mouth it goes in your tracker/diet journal
- Don’t eat in front of the television or computer – make eating an event even if it’s the crack of dawn and you’re having a piece of toast and a cup of coffee
- Stick to regular meal/snack times when possible. This means eating every 3-4 hours (if you are hungry) – if you expect more than 4 hours between meals plan on having a balanced snack about halfway between this lapse.
- Increase your water consumption tap or bottled be sure to get a few servings of plain, delicious, nutritious water each day (one trick is alternate H2O with other beverages)
- Get more vegetables – the easiest and most gratifying ways I know are in a crudite with raw veggies and/or in a warm bowl of homemade vegetable soup (homemade soup is the ideal choice because you can control the quality of ingredients as well as fat/sodium, but if it has to be store-bought look for a light version with low sodium)
- Consume whole grain when possible – brown rice, plain popcorn, whole grain (no sugar added) cereal, oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, etc (to make sure you’re getting the real deal flip the package over to the ingredients list, if the first ingredient is WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR you have a whole grain product)
Feeding one these days so my ‘meals’ have been rather random. Tomorrow and Wednesday the kitchen will get some action. Recipes/photos to be shared then.