A heart healthy lifestyle can be broken down into three basic segments: eating, moving, and living.
How much does your current lifestyle reflect heart healthy choices and the promise of a longer, happier life?
We think if you have these three basic building blocks, you’re doing just fine!
This is one of the most obvious components of living a heart healthy lifestyle. What you put in your body is most likely what it’s going to give back.
Eating for heart health is no walk in the park, but it’s certainly not bland either!
If you’ve said goodbye to excessive sugar, fast food, and over-the-top sodium, you’re likely doing just fine. But are the following super heart healthy foods in your kitchen?
• Whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat bread, crackers, quinoa, flaxseed)
• Veggies (Specifically leafy greens such as kale and spinach, bell peppers, asparagus, avocadoes)
• Fruit (grapefruit, oranges, apples, berries)
• Lean protein (black and navy beans, chicken, salmon, tilapia, lean ground turkey or ground beef)
• Dairy (low fat or fat free yogurt, milk, cheese, and butter)
• Red wine (limit: a couple glasses a week!)
And are these on your blacklist?
• Processed and packaged foods (frozen meals, microwave meals, anything that isn’t “raw” ingredients)
• High sodium products (chips, cookies, canned foods, soup, store-bought dressings and sauces)
• Excess Sugar (candy, cookies, sweets, syrups, juice, soda)
• Empty calories (bleached flour, unnecessary carbs, alcohol, sugary beverages)
If your kitchen reflects these lists, congratulations! You have one of the big building blocks for a heart healthy lifestyle.
When we say “moving”, we literally mean are you moving enough every day? At work? At home? On vacation, even?
You don’t have to be a Crossfit pro to stay physically fit and healthy, but everyone needs some good, upbeat movement for at least 30 minutes a day.
Whether that 30 minutes is broken up into 10 minute segments, or it’s done all at once, healthy movement is good for the heart.
Movement is crucial for fat metabolism, strength of the heart muscle, and healthy blood circulation.
Moving in a heart healthy lifestyle looks like doing one or more of these things for a total of 30 minutes a day:
• Taking a work break to walk around the office, stretch, and get on your feet
• Walking your dogs
• Riding your bike
• Your favorite workout class
• Yard work
• Walking to the store
• And so much more!
If you’re spending a minimum of 30 minutes a day doing one of the above things, you’re in good shape (literally)!
This third building block of a heart healthy lifestyle is often overlooked, but just as important as eating well and moving often.
We think of “living” as living a life you enjoy, taking time to relax, do things you like, spend time with people you love, and stressing less.
When we are isolated and stressed, chained to work, and are kept from the things that make us happy, our mental health begins to decline and results in taking a serious toll on our physical health.
Here’s how you can be living in order to have a heart healthy lifestyle:
• Get plenty of sleep
• Spend time outside
• Lessen the stress in your life
• Get organized
• Take vacations
• Be present with your friends and family
• Spend an hour every day doing something you enjoy
• Leave work at work
Research shows that stress caused by extreme lifestyle changes, trauma, work-related stress, or relationship issues can cause abnormal activity in the cardiovascular system.
When you’re living happily, you’re also less likely to pick up bad, stress-induced habits such as smoking, excessive drinking, and binge-eating.