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10 small steps for better heart health

10 small steps for better heart health :  Changes is an important part of living with heart disease and trying to prevent it. A jump in blood pressure and cholesterol earns you a lecture on healthy lifestyle changes. Heart attack or stroke survivors are often told to alter a lifetime of habits.

Some people manage to overhaul their exercise pattern and diet or unhealthy habits with ease. The rest of us try to make changes, but don’t always succeed. Instead of undertaking a huge makeover and you might be able to improve your heart’s health with a series of small changes. Once you get going, you may find that change isn’t so hard. This approach may take longer, but it could also motivate you to make some big changes.

Here are 10 steps to get you on the road to better health.

 

1. Take a 10-minute walk
.

If you don’t exercise at all, a brief walk is a great way to start. If you do, it’s a good way to add more exercise to your day.

 

2. Giving up smoking.

Giving up smoking will have a positive effect on your health. You will breathe more easily; your circulation, skin, hair and teeth will improve; and your risk of serious disease will fall.

 

3. Give yourself a lift.

Lifting a hardcover book or a two-pound weight a few times a day can help tone your arm muscles. When that becomes a breeze, move on to heavier items or join a gym.

 

4. Be socially active. 

Social isolation is a common problem as it’s not unusual for family members to live in different areas, or even different countries, and not as many people know who their neighbours are nowadays. There are many ways to combat isolation and find friends, such as joining a class or lunch group or doing voluntary work.

 

5. Eat one extra fruit or vegetable a day.

Fruits and vegetables are inexpensive, taste good, and are good for everything from your brain to your bowels.

 

6. Keeping your brain active. 

There are lots of easy ways to help to keep your brain alert as you get older. Certain foods can help to increase your brainpower, as well as simple activities such as doing a crossword or quiz, reading a book or having a lively debate! .

 

7. Stop drinking your calories.

Cutting out just one sugar-sweetened soda or calorie-laden latte can easily save you 100 or more calories a day. Over a year, that can translate into a 10-pound weight loss.

 

8. Be positive! 

Having a positive attitude is the best way to put a spring in your step. Do something every day that you enjoy. Visit a friend, listen to music, read a book or simply take time to think happy thoughts!

 

9. Breathe deeply.

Try breathing slowly and deeply for a few minutes a day. It can help you relax. Slow, deep breathing may also help lower blood pressure.

 

10. Get plenty of fresh air. 

Getting out in the fresh air is not only good for your physical health, but for your mental health too. Exposure to sunlight boosts your vitamin D levels, which is essential for your teeth and bones and also makes you feel happier.  Going outdoors as often as possible, for example to walk your dog, is also a great way of meeting people and improving your social life.

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