by MELISSA WOLINSKI, D.O.; Scripps Clinic, Torrey Pines

5 Heart-Healthy Habits

Scripps_melissa_wGive yourself some love and assess if your lifestyle is heart-healthy. Prevention is key to keeping your heart pumping optimally, and these good habits can help keep your heart strong.

1. Exercise regularly.
Your heart is a muscle that needs to be worked as consistently as any other muscle to stay strong. Doing aerobic exercise on most days of the week for 30 to 60 minutes helps your heart work efficiently. Make sure to add some light weight training for an additional metabolic kick to help with weight loss.

2. Eat a balanced diet.
Food is medicine. According to the U.S. government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, eating right for your heart means including fruits and veggies, low-fat dairy, poultry, fish, and nuts in your diet. Avoid red meat, processed foods, and foods high in sodium. Remember to drink plenty of fluids and consider adding green tea. Certain foods and supplements can help decrease body inflammation and cholesterol, and improve blood pressure. These would include garlic, fish oil, magnesium, coenzyme Q10, fiber, and artichokes.

3. Manage your blood pressure.
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. Keeping your blood pressure within your healthy range reduces strain on your heart and arteries. Incorporating the first two healthy habits into your routine will help keep your blood pressure in check. Limiting alcohol and avoiding tobacco smoke are also important. Try incorporating meditation techniques through activities such as yoga and tai chi for stress management.

4. Lose weight if needed.
Too much weight puts you at a higher risk for many health problems, including heart disease. Come up with a smart and realistic weight loss plan and approach it systematically.

5. Get enough sleep.
Good quality sleep is essential to health and well-being. Your heart is significantly impacted when your body doesn’t get enough sleep – just as your body needs rest, so does your heart. Most people need six to eight hours of sleep each day.

Melissa Wolinski, D.O., is an internal medicine doctor at Scripps Clinic in Torrey Pines. She provides care in all areas of internal medicine, including women’s medicine. As an osteopath, she recognizes the interplay among the physical, psychological, and social aspects of a person’s life.


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