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10 Tips for Living a Healthier Lifestyle to Prevent Heart Disease

Did you know that heart disease is one of the most preventable medical issues, yet it’s responsible for one in four deaths in the United States? Here at West Coast Medicine and Cardiology, we want to help our Bay Area patients avoid becoming part of this frightening statistic. And it’s not as hard as you might think.

While a healthier lifestyle is the goal when you want to prevent heart disease, the phrase “healthier lifestyle” isn’t exactly specific. Instead of telling you in general terms to watch what you eat and get more exercise, we’re going to give you 10 easy things you can do throughout your day that will help you ward off heart disease.

1. Good morning!

We know everyone is busy and mornings can be chaotic as your household gets ready for the day. Instead of jumping out of bed to join the mayhem, take just five minutes to stretch.

Touch your toes, do some gentle twists, reach your hands over your head — whatever feels good and helps your body warm up. This gentle wakening of your system helps your heart gear up and get ready for the day.

2. Walk it out

Challenge yourself to walk wherever possible. That may mean parking a little farther away from school or work, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, getting off the bus or train a few stops early. All of these little steps add up to one giant leap for heart health.

3. Ditch the takeout

Instead of grabbing another sandwich from the deli or a taco from the food truck at lunchtime, you can take control of your diet by brown-bagging it. This not only saves you a fair bit of money from week to week, it also gives you more control over your diet.

4. Call in a substitute

Speaking of controlling your diet, you should substitute some of your unhealthy foods with healthier ones. For example, cut out salt and use lemon juice instead, or use a soft avocado instead of mayonnaise in your sandwich. Little tweaks in your diet do make a difference when it comes to keeping your blood flowing freely.

5. Take a moment or two … or three

In today’s world, it’s hard to avoid stress. It seems like we’re always connected and always on call. Throughout your day, stress begins to build, which isn’t doing your blood pressure any favors. Why not use your smartphone to help you de-stress?

There are many different apps that offer quick meditation and relaxation techniques you can use throughout the day. Taking a few minutes to hit the reset button is one of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health.

6. The fruit and veggie challenge

See if you can add just one serving of a fruit or vegetable to your diet each day. Grab an apple before you head out to walk the dog. Munch on carrot sticks during your commute. There’s no shortage of ways you can add fruits and vegetables to your diet each day, and your heart will appreciate it.

7. Go nuts

As long as we’re talking about nutrition, get rid of salty snacks like chips in favor of nuts. Unsalted almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and cashews fill you up even more than convenience store snacks and they’re considerably healthier.

8. Get your heart rate up

The American Heart Association, not to mention the staff here at West Coast Medicine and Cardiology, recommend that you get at least two and a half hours of heart-pumping exercise each week. Throwing in extra walking will help, but you should also devote some time each day to intentional exercise.

Maybe bike to work a couple days a week or join a cardio class at the gym. Take a little time to get your heart rate up each day, even if it’s just running around the block a few times after work.

9. Curb late-night snacking

It’s tempting to hit the kitchen as you unwind in front of the TV or curl up with a book, but eating after 9 pm, when your body doesn’t require much energy, just means that your body will store the energy as fat instead of using it.

10. Good night

One of the best things you can do for your heart health is to get enough sleep each night. While you sleep, your heart rate goes down, giving your heart the rest it needs before facing the next day. If you’re not getting the sleep you need, your heart is missing out on this valuable downtime.

If you have any questions about other ways you can prevent heart disease, please give us a call or use the online scheduling tool to book an appointment.

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