As you look forward to ringing in a new year, it’s a good time to take stock of your life and make some improvements. When it comes to your wellness, focusing on your cardiovascular health should be at the top of your list of priorities. Not to put too fine a point on it, but cardiovascular disease claims a life every 33 seconds in the United States.

If you want to avoid this frightening outcome, it’s an excellent idea to take some heart-healthy steps this year. To get you started, the team here South Shore Cardiovascular Associates pulled together five great suggestions below.

1. Track your exercise

It’s all well and good for us to say that you should follow the guidelines and get at least 150 minutes per week of aerobic exercise.  A great way to hold yourself accountable in your efforts to move more is to track your activity with your smartphone or a fitness watch.

These devices can add up the distance you cover each day — how many steps, how many flights of stairs, how much time you spend moving, etc. All of these stats are great for tracking your activity each week and making sure you get enough aerobic exercise.

2. Don’t forget strength training

While aerobic exercise is great for conditioning your cardiovascular system, it’s also important that you keep your muscles strong. We recommend that you work out with weights at least once a week, making sure that you tackle all of the muscle groups — arms, legs, back, chest, and abdomen.

Another great way to add strength training is to throw it in throughout the day. For example, do 20 squats or lunges while you wait for your coffee to brew. Or, ditch the grocery cart and lift those shopping bags.

3. Improve your diet

The American diet isn’t doing our collective heart health any favors. We strongly suggest that you veer away from fatty foods, especially fried foods, and more toward healthier, leaner options. 

For example, perhaps swap out that hamburger for a nice chicken breast or piece of fish. Or, get rid of the chips in favor of crunchy carrots or celery. Instead of cookies, try some dried fruit snacks.

Our point here is that anytime you can substitute an unhealthy, processed food for a vegetable, fruit, nut, whole grain, or lean protein, take that opportunity.

4. Manage stress

Stress is in abundant supply these days and it can wreak havoc on your physical and mental wellness, which very much includes your heart health. Why not make this the year you find ways to reduce stress? 

Maybe start a meditation practice or go for quiet walks. It’s a great idea to unplug your phone every once in a while and turn off the news. Even taking the time to breathe deeply for one minute can help.

Whatever works to calm your body and mind is an activity that’s well worth pursuing.

5. Let us establish a baseline

Unfortunately, many people are taken by surprise with heart disease. If you really want to stay one step ahead of your heart health, it’s a good idea to come see us so that we can establish a baseline and identify any areas of concern, such as hypertension (high blood pressure), an arrhythmia, or any other potentially problematic cardiovascular condition.

After a thorough evaluation, our team can better tailor your efforts to improve your cardiovascular health to your unique needs and risk factors.

To get on the road to better heart health, we invite you to book an appointment online or over the phone with South Shore Cardiovascular Associates today. We have offices in Brandon, Riverview, Tampa, and Sun City Center, Florida.

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