BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — It’s a New Year and there’s no better time to refocus on your heart health! As the New Year begins, it’s a great time to assess your lifestyle and find ways in which you can be healthier.
Whether you’re looking to improve a current condition or prevent the development of future problems, young or old, the New Year is a great time to start anew with a fitness routine. Exercise has a wide range of benefits, including:
- Reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer
- Helps grow new arteries in your heart
- Boost the immune system
- Helps to prevent osteoporosis
- Strengthens muscles, including the heart
- Boosts energy
- Aids in the function of the adrenal glands, which helps regulate hormones such as cortisol
- Aids in weight loss and reducing anxiety
In addition to a regular exercise regime, here are five easy and heart-healthy recommendations from the American Heart Association that you can incorporate into your New Year’s resolution:
- Drink more water: Water is essential for staying healthy and active. Make water your go-to drink instead of sugary sodas and teas, which contribute empty calories to your diet.
- Go green: Incorporating fruits and veggies into every meal is an important step to insuring you’re consuming enough nutrients. If fresh doesn’t work with your schedule or habits, remember you can get frozen or canned. Just be sure to rinse canned fruits and vegetables, as they may contain added salts and sugars.
- Cut out processed foods: In addition to chemicals your body doesn’t need or want, processed foods are full of added salt. Higher salt intake puts you at risk for high blood pressure. In fact, 75 percent of the salt in the average American diet comes from salt added to processed food and restaurant food, according to the American Heart Association. Take control and cut out salt where you can. STVHS is the presenting sponsor of the Break Up with Salt movement in Birmingham.
- Eat more fiber: Crucial to heart health and reducing the risk of heart disease, fiber is easy to add to your diet. Whole grains are filled with fiber, which makes digestion easier and helps you feel fuller when you’re done eating, both key factors in weight management.
- Create realistic goals and pace yourself: Resolutions are about changing a life style that you’ve been accustom to do years, if not decades. Change isn’t going to happen overnight. With simple, smart choices each day, you can make 2017 your best year yet.
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