If you’re worried about your heart health, you’re not alone. According to the CDC, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in men and women. Fortunately for us, the first steps toward preventing cardiovascular disease start with getting our healthy habits back on track. Here are some steps you can take for a heart-healthy lifestyle:
1. 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.
2. Lose weight if you need to.
A higher body mass index (BMI) means a higher risk for heart disease.
3. Keep a heart-healthy diet.
This includes limiting saturated and trans fats, as well as emphasizing fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
4. Quit smoking.
Smoking increases the risk of heart disease and discourages healthy habits such as physical activity.
5. 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.
6. Manage stress.
Stress may impact other risk factors for heart disease by increasing your blood pressure, raising cholesterol levels and tempting you to overeat.