2020 was hard for everyone—physically, emotionally and mentally. As we ring in the new year and welcome 2021 with open arms, it’s time to establish some “new year, new me” healthy habits. From losing weight, reducing stress, quitting smoking or exercising more, these goals can all help with your heart health, which is extremely important amidst the pandemic. The experts at AMS Cardiology are getting to the heart of the matter and sharing some heart-healthy new year’s resolutions and foods that you can incorporate into your daily routine.
Chances are in 2020, you put on a little weight. Quarantine, lack of exercise and social engagement and overeating are to blame. While losing weight is often the number one new year’s resolution for many, it’s the first one that people tend to break. To keep you on track, start by setting a more realistic goal for the first part of the new year. Getting to your ideal weight can be challenging but shedding as few as 7 to 10 pounds can decrease your risk of:
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
If you plan to shed those stubborn extra pounds in 2021, some heart-healthy foods you can incorporate into your diet include:
- Dark, leafy green vegetables
- Whole grains
- Fatty fish and fish oil
- Dark chocolate
- Nuts and seeds
Fit in Fitness
By now you’ve heard the phrase “Sitting is the new smoking” and many studies have ample evidence to back up this claim. Just 30-60 minutes of moderate exercise a day can help burn fat and lower cholesterol. To make this resolution more achievable, commit to exercising for just one month and after that success, move forward with another 30 days. Another way you can overcome this sometimes challenging healthy new year’s resolution is to figure out what type of workout is most appealing to you. This way you’ll look at it as a fun activity versus something you dread. Adding a wearable device to track your progress can motivate you to get up and get more active.
Reduce Smoking and Alcohol Consumption
Drinking in moderation is okay from time to time and some alcohol (like red wine) can even offer several health benefits. Consuming less alcohol (and often the caffeinated beverages that can accompany them) can help you sleep better, lose weight and reduce stress. In excess, your risk of heart disease increases.
Smoking cessation can prevent the buildup of fatty substances in your arteries and lower your blood pressure and heart rate. Quitting smoking can also reduce your risk of developing chronic disorders and diseases like atherosclerosis, heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
Shake the Sugar Habit
A diet pervaded with sugar can increase your risk of heart disease by over 30%, according to a Harvard study. Sweet, caffeinated beverages are the number one sugary culprit so the first step in reducing your sugar intake is rethinking your drink. If you’re looking to satisfy a sweet tooth, snack on fresh fruit or try plain or sparkling water infused with a lemon or lime for a sugar-free thirst quencher.
This year has been stressful and chronic stress can take a toll on every organ in your body. Anxious people tend to have more heart attacks and strokes, so reducing stress should be a goal for everyone. It’s important to do things that relax you including meditation, yoga, laughing, talking with friends and family, getting outside or reading a book. These activities can all significantly reduce tension, heart rate and blood pressure.
At AMS Cardiology, we take pride in being the top cardiologists in Montgomery County, providing our patients with comprehensive cardiovascular care and superb patient satisfaction. For all your heart health needs, including preventative and interventional care, contact our team today.