2020 was a difficult year for everyone. A global pandemic forced everyone into quarantine, which we hoped would only last a few weeks but wound up lasting much longer. As a result, many of us picked up bad habits to help with our stress. However, these habits may contribute to a less healthy heart in the long term. Here are three tips to get your heart back into shape!
3 Tips to Break Bad Habits from Lockdown
Eat a heart-healthy diet
There are a ton of different “diets” out there. How do you know which one to choose? Which one is “heart healthy?” A heart healthy diet includes lots of green vegetables, whole grains, and healthy oils found in avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. This doesn’t mean you should smother your pasta with olive oil – but it does mean you can use it and not feel guilty. Think Mediterranean: lean meat, fresh fish, fresh vegetables, and whole grains are all heart-healthy ingredients.
Drink less alcohol over the week
A common recommendation is for women to limit alcoholic beverages to one per day, and men two per day. The scientific literature has gone back and forth on whether some amount of alcohol can be healthy – we’ve all heard that red wine can be good for the heart. However, beer can increase triglycerides, which will then increase your cholesterol. So, tread lightly when it comes to alcohol; less is more.
We know we’re a broken record here, but seriously. Exercise is medicine. There is no disadvantage to exercise. The common recommendation is 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week (which equates to 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week), but that’s a lot for most people. Don’t worry if you’re not there. Even a small amount of exercise is better than none. It is important though to work up to that 30 minute point to get cardiovascular benefits.
Exercise can be anything that gets the blood pumping, like running, walking, cycling, hiking, dancing, or skating. Just make sure it’s something you enjoy so you’re more likely to do it!
Questions? Call us!
Contact us today for a custom exercise program to help get your heart healthy and strong!