Habits for a Healthy Heart

by Darcy Balsam Certified Personal Trainer for Granite Health and Fitness
B.S. Personal Trainer-AFAA, Nutritional Coach-Cooper Institute

February was the American Heart Association’s Heart Health Month. This is also the time of year when Personal Trainers and Nutrition Coaches are often asked “What can I do to get Healthy?” A good first step to answer this question is to narrow things down and get to the basics which in itself can be difficult and overwhelming. To help out, I’ve put together 5 targeted suggestions that can help simplify things and start you on a path to a healthy heart:

  1. Eat Healthy – Having a diet low in saturated fats and filled with lean protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains will get you on your way.
  1. Get Active – If you are new to exercise, consider starting with 15 minutes a day. Eventually, you can graduate to a well-rounded strength and cardio program for 30 minutes most days of the week. Set a goal to achieve 150 minutes total exercise during the course of a 7 day week.
  1. Get Enough Sleep – It is crucial for our bodies to get 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. This should include implementing a structured routine for sleep to occur. Attempt to go to sleep and wake within 30 minutes of the same time every day. During sleep our bodies are healing and recovering from the events of the day.
  2. Keep Stress Levels Down – Try to remove yourself from stressful situations or take a time out to calm down and relax. Stress can create negative symptoms and side effects including high blood pressure and an increase in cancer risk and depression.
  1. Keep Weight at a Healthy Level – This is done through healthy choices in your diet. This will include eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones. It’s also critical to consider portion size when snacking or eating out. All of the steps above while including exercise can help control your weight in your control.

Nutrition and fitness go hand-in-hand; eating a balanced diet will fuel your energy to get active. Activity and exercise has been proven time and again in numerous studies as essential for improving quality of sleep which in turn helps reduce stress levels. Oh, and by the way, a healthier weight.

Share your goals with your family and loved ones. Support from them may make your journey a lot easier. Who knows…they might join you! Spring is almost here. A great gift that you could give to yourself at the end of  a long Winter as well as your loved ones is the gift of a health. Here’s to healthy living and a healthy heart!

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