4 Ways to Improve Your Heart Health in the New Year


shutterstock_51688888If you’re like most Americans, you likely have a list of New Year resolutions that focus on self-improvement. Making (and committing to) these resolutions is a great way to kick-start a new, healthier year. But don’t forget to add heart health to your list. After all, improving your cardiovascular health can have lasting effects on all aspects of your new, healthier self.

1. Tweak Your Diet

Making some small dietary changes can really improve your heart health. Try to steer clear of foods that are high in sodium and saturated fat. Instead, opt for foods that are rich in omega-3s and monounsaturated fats, like salmon, avocados, nuts and olive oil. It’s also a good idea to limit how often you dine out, as you have much more control over what you’re eating if you prepare it yourself.

2. Get the Right Amount of Exercise

Getting the right amount of exercise is another key factor in maintaining great heart health. It’s recommended that you shoot for getting 150 minutes of exercise per week, and it’s best if you combine exercises like walking or running with strength training. But it’s also important to be aware of the symptoms of over-exercising, which can include dizziness and over-exhaustion.

3. Manage Stress

While small amounts of stress are an inevitable part of life, if you find yourself in a constant state of stress, you may be putting yourself at a greater risk for heart-related problems. Reducing your stress levels by adding things into your routine like meditation, deep-breathing practices and good sleep habits can have a positive effect on your heart health.

4. Ditch Bad Habits

It’s no secret that smoking and drinking aren’t good for your health, but ditching these habits is especially important for your heart. Nicotine and alcohol can significantly raise your blood pressure, which can be detrimental to your cardiovascular health.