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It’s American Heart Health Month, and we want to make sure our readers stay around for as long as possible. We’ve come up with a list of ways to help you maintain a healthy heart:
**Always check with your doctor first before making lifestyle changes or beginning a workout routine**
Tips for a Heart Health
- Eat a Balanced Diet: A key to heart health is eating healthy foods. Be sure to eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. You’ll also want to limit saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars. We have a great recipe for a healthy spring vegetable soup that you may love.
- Exercise Regularly: Let’s walk those Pittsburgh hills! We should be aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week. Incorporate activities that elevate your heart rate and strengthen your muscles.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight: Strive to achieve and maintain a healthy weight to reduce the risk of heart disease and other health issues. This involves balancing caloric intake with physical activity.
- Manage Stress: Don’t let the Steelers raise your blood pressure. Chronic stress can contribute to heart disease. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as exercise, relaxation techniques, hobbies, spending time with loved ones, or seeking professional help if needed.
- Get Quality Sleep: This is much easier said than done. Sometimes, you just have to keep reading or finish playing that last level of Candy Crush. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. Poor sleep can contribute to high blood pressure, weight gain, and other risk factors for heart disease.
- Quit Smoking: If you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your heart health. Smoking damages blood vessels, raises blood pressure, and increases the risk of heart disease.
- Limit Alcohol Intake: Excessive alcohol consumption can raise blood pressure, contribute to weight gain, and increase the risk of heart disease. Limit alcohol intake to moderate levels, if you choose to drink.
- Monitor Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Levels: Regularly check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. High blood pressure and high cholesterol can strain the heart and increase the risk of heart disease. Work with your healthcare provider to manage these levels within a healthy range.
Stay Hydrated: Drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day to support overall health and help maintain proper heart function. If you don’t like plain water, you can always spruce it up by adding in some fruit, or by purchasing a flavored sparkling water instead.
- Regular Health Check-ups: Schedule regular check-ups with your healthcare provider to monitor your heart health and address any concerns or risk factors promptly.
By incorporating these habits into your lifestyle, you can help promote a healthy heart and reduce the risk of heart disease and related complications. For more information on hearth health, visit the American Heart Association siteAmerican Heart Association site. Stay healthy, Pittsburgh!