Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Heart Tips for Daily living

Living a healthy lifestyle, heart is very important in our life. Having a healthy heart is as simple as coining a two-word phrase. Say, “eat right or “work out” or “don’t smoke.” Now, isn’t that very simple? But wait. These two-word phrases won’t be effective unless you put them into daily practice. And that’s what matters most.As adults, at least 30 minutes of exercise a day for five or more days in a week is needed to maintain a healthy heart. (Children and teens need at least 60 minutes of activity most days.)

Exercises such as strength training, aerobics, flexibility, and stretching are good ideas. It is also good to know that playing kickball with your kids, walking the dog, or shooting hoops with colleagues during your lunch break are also considered exercise and can help improve heart health.

Even the minimum daily exercise requirement of at least 30 minutes doesn’t have to be done all at once. You can distribute it throughout the day by aiming for a 10-minute morning walk, or perhaps a short workout with hand weights at lunch, or even go for some digging in the garden before dinner.

Now, that’s good news!Getting a regular health check-up is also important in keeping a healthy heart. And no one is responsible for keeping an eye on your medical health but you. Be responsible for your own sake.

Unfortunately, the ho-hum pragmatism of routine health exams makes it an easy thing to forget. But there’s no way you’ll know what’s going on inside your body unless you take the regular blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol checks, as well as physical exams. While some exams are needed by everyone, there are regular exams that can depend on age, health risks, and gender.

Obesity puts a growing number of people at risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. If you maintain a healthy weight, it not only reduces your risks for these and other conditions, but it can also improve sleep, boost energy, and rev up self-esteem.

Go for nutritionally-dense foods to get as much nutrition as you can from the calories you eat. While a soft drink has over 120 calories but no nutrients at all, a handful of mixed nuts has about 165 calories and is packed with body-building protein and heart-healthy fats.

Our bodies need calories for energy. But there should be a balance between the calories you consume and the calories your body needs. To lose weight, consume fewer calories than you burn.

A diet rich in produce may help lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer. It fills you up with only a few calories in it. Whole grains help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

According to Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, a registered dietician and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, lower the saturated fat in your diet and you can reduce your risk of heart issues by half. Start by switching to low-fat meat and dairy, and change to healthier fats like olive and safflower oils.

Cooking without salt and limiting processed foods can get your diet down to the recommended 2,400 mg daily amount of sodium (or about 1 teaspoon).
Another factor that is significant in maintaining a healthy heart is to get rid of stress. So be sure to relax and unplug daily. Make time for yourself. You don’t need to get a relaxing vacation to avoid distractions. If your work involves the computer and telephone, be sure to have some time away from these gadgets. Make time to recharge your batteries, to find both energy and calm daily.

And of course, the hard habit to break should be broken: Quit smoking! Everyone is aware of what damages smoking can do to the body and mind. In addition to heart problems, cancer and lung disease, smoking is also associated with early menopause, infertility, and pregnancy complications.

While it’s not easy to give up smoking, there are many ways to help you to successfully quit the habit. There are medications, support groups, counseling, or a combination of all three. You just have to do it for your own good. For your heart. It’s as simple as that!

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