A Healthier Heart for 2021

It’s that time of year again. As the holidays start to wind down, we look forward to a fresh calendar year and begin setting goals for the new year. We consider what we wished our lives looked like, and we think about what steps we need to take to get there. 

This year, challenge yourself to work on your heart health specifically. For many heart diseases and conditions, the best way you can lower your risk is to live a healthy, active lifestyle. The new year is a perfect time to focus your efforts and use the momentum to improve your health.

To help you get started on your list for the new year, here are four habits to consider to support your heart health.

Move more

For heart health, moderate exercise is an excellent choice. Aim for 30 minutes most days of the week. If you are aiming to lose a moderate amount of weight as well, increase it to closer to 60 minutes. Lace up your shoes for a brisk walk, work in the garden, dance in your living room, or go on a bike ride. Choose your favorite activity and add it to your day. 

Eat your fruits and veggies

Rather than trying to eliminate every bad food from your diet, focus on what you can add to your plate. Think about creating a colorful plate in order to get a variety of vitamins and nutrients each day. Add a handful of blueberries to your plate at breakfast. Have a side salad with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and bell peppers with lunch. Roast or grill zucchini and portabella mushrooms to go with dinner. 

Don’t forget your whole grains

Whole grain consumption is linked to lower risk for heart disease. As you plan your meals in 2021, look for ways to replace simple carbohydrates with whole grain options. Good options to include are oatmeal, brown rice, or a whole grain bread such as rye. 

Stop smoking

While it’s easier said than done, quitting smoking is one of the biggest things you can do for your heart health. When you quit smoking, you drastically cut your risk for adverse outcomes from heart disease, such as recurrent heart attack and death. Within weeks of quitting, your risk begins to drop. In a year, you cut your risk in half. If you want to quit, reach out to your Oklahoma Heart Hospital physician for help and suggestions on the best way to quit.

As you begin setting goals and resolutions for 2021, take the time to prioritize your heart health. Whether you begin with movement or adding more veggies to your plate, take the first step toward a healthier lifestyle. Your heart will thank you.