Here are some steps you can take for a heart-healthy lifestyle:
- Monitor your blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends a home monitor for those with high blood pressure. As you make lifestyle changes or adjust medications, you’ll want to track your blood pressure in order to measure progress.
- Lose weight if you need to. A higher body mass index (BMI) means a higher risk for heart disease.
- Keep a heart-healthy diet. This includes limiting saturated and trans fats, as well as emphasizing fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Quit smoking. Smoking increases the risk of heart disease and discourages healthy habits such as physical activity.
- Commit to exercise. For overall cardiovascular health, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise at least five days a week, or at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise at least three days a week. For additional benefits, try adding muscle-strengthening activities.
- Manage stress. Stress may impact other risk factors for heart disease by increasing your blood pressure, raising cholesterol levels and tempting you to overeat.