Heart-healthy living doesn't have to be strenuous or time consuming. You can really improve your general health and overall sense of well-being by making a few healthy changes to your lifestyle. Fit in exercise when and where you can, eat more fruits and vegetables and reduce stress through daily relaxation.
Recent studies have suggested that stress can add to weight gain. Many studies have shown all types of stress to be linked to heart disease. Working to excess and not taking time to relax enough is a big problem in today's world when many of us face pressure to earn enough income to make ends meet. Add to that family and relationship stress, and we aren't doing our selves or our hearts any favors. Yet, even taking an hour or a half hour a day for quiet relaxation can help us to be more heart-healthy.
Adding more fruits and vegetables into your diet every day is easy if you eat them for snacks and also try to have at least two vegetables at dinner. The Mayo Clinic recommends eating mostly fresh fruits and veggies because it is the dietary fiber found in these plant foods that is thought to lower cholesterol. Lower cholesterol often means a lower risk of heart disease. Eating more fruits and vegetables can also help to prevent overeating cholesterol raising foods because fiber can make you feel full.
Exercise is important to a heart-healthy lifestyle. Many of us begin a three times a week work out regimen and go at it full force only to completely abandon it within the first month or two. Studies have shown that even a few minutes of exercise can benefit heart health, so it is better to start small and fit exercise into your day where you can. For example, there are many exercises you can do at your desk. You can also start walking after your evening meal and then gradually increase the speed to a faster walk.
The main thing to remember when trying to do more to live a heart-healthy lifestyle is to make changes gradually, but be consistent. The more habit-forming you can make reaching for carrot sticks rather than potato chips for your snack, the more likely you'll be to stick with it. If you're not a big fan of exercise, you can start becoming more heart-healthy by just dancing to your favorite songs for a few minutes every day.