Ten Ways to Take Charge of Your Heart
1. Make a date with a doctor. Each year on your birthday, schedule a check-up. Have your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels checked, and ask your doctor to help you reach or maintain a healthy weight.
2. Tune in when you tone up. Add more physical activity to your life by stepping, marching or jogging in place for at least 15 minutes a day while watching your favorite TV shows. Increase your activity by 5 minutes each week until you're getting a minimum of 30 minutes most days of the week.
3. Grab some H2O when you go. Take a water bottle with you when you wherever you go. It'll keep you hydrated and the bottle's weight will strengthen your arms.
4. Keep out of sight, out of mouth. Keep packages of unhealthy food hidden in the pantry. Put raw veggies and fruits in front in the refrigerator and healthy snacks in the front of the pantry, so that's what you see first. If you keep grabbing healthy foods for a minimum of 21 times, then it will soon become a habit.
5. Eat lean to be lean. Eating foods high in saturated fat can lead to high cholesterol. To help keep your cholesterol levels down, try foods low in saturated fat in moderation, such as lean chicken or turkey (roasted or baked, with skin removed), fruits and veggies, low-fat or nonfat yogurt or pasta.
6. Don't let salt lick you. To help lower high blood pressure, watch your salt intake. It may be disguised in food labels as: sodium alginate, sodium sulfite, sodium caseinate, disodium phosphate, sodium benzoate, sodium hydroxide, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and sodium citrate.
7. Kick butts. If you smoke, quit. Here's a four-step way to snuff your habit. On Day 1, cut the number of cigarettes you smoke by half. On Day 3, cut the number of cigarettes you smoke in half again. On Day 5, cut your smoking in half again. On your Quit Day -- quit!
Overweight and Obesity
8. Avoid fad diets. Excess weight increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. To achieve steady, painless weight loss, take it easy. Each day, if you eat 200-300 calories less and exercise at least 30 minutes on most days (five days a week), you'll get closer to your goal and be able to achieve weight loss that is steady and painless.
9. If you slip, don't quit! If you get off your exercise schedule, have a cigarette or mess up on a meal, immediately get back on track toward reestablishing a healthy lifestyle.
10. Celebrate your successes! To maintain momentum with exercising, losing weight or quitting smoking, keep track of your achievements and reward yourself by doing something you enjoy.
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