Making Lifestyle Changes to Keep Your Heart Healthy - dummies

Making Lifestyle Changes to Keep Your Heart Healthy

By Rosanne Rust, Cynthia Kleckner

Part of Hypertension Cookbook For Dummies Cheat Sheet

When you’re battling hypertension, it’s not about just one factor, whether that’s reducing the salt or getting on the treadmill. Instead, controlling hypertension and improving your health involves creating a more balanced, healthier lifestyle overall. Check out this list of the top tips and tricks to make lifestyle changes that can help you work toward a healthier heart and life:

  • Ask your doctor how your blood cholesterol is doing, and whether that needs some work, too.

  • Choose physical activities that you enjoy and don’t try to do too much too soon.

  • Drink more water and limit sugar-sweetened beverages.

  • Eat less dessert and fewer sweetened baked goods, and when you do indulge, eat smaller portions.

  • Even if you only have 10 minutes to work out, use those 10 minutes. Every few minutes counts.

  • Get physically active and fit. Try to get at least 30 minutes of activity every day.

  • Gradually increase the length and intensity of your workout routine.

  • Have your doctor check your blood pressure regularly, and let her know if you’re following the DASH diet.

  • Lose weight if you’re overweight. Talk to your doctor or a dietitian for more on what a healthy body weight for you should be.

  • Make an exercise plan and stick to it, enlisting the companionship of a friend, exercise partner, or personal trainer, if you like.

  • Quit smoking — and if you’re not a smoker, don’t start!

  • Replace salt in recipes with flavorful herbs and spices, or use half the salt.

  • Remove the salt shaker from the table.

  • Skip the salty snacks and extra sweets.

  • Start saving sodas and sugary coffee drinks for occasional treats.

  • If your doctor prescribes medications for you, take them exactly as directed.

  • Try working out in the morning, because studies show that people who exercise then are the most successful. Think about it: In the morning, fewer obstacles can get in the way of your busy life.