Pomerene Hospital Blog
Your Guide to a Healthier Heart!
Including a healthy diet and exercise in your life style is your best weapon to fight cardiovascular disease. It’s not as difficult as most people think, but does take some commitment to good choices that count.
Here are 5 basic steps to get you on the right path towards a healthier heart!
- A basic first step is to use up as many calories as you take in. Start by knowing how many calories you should be
eating and drinking to maintain your weight. It is important to read labels and understand that they are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, but that you may require fewer or more calories depending on your level of physical activity. In order to lose weight, one must burn more calories than they consume. Therefore, increasing the amount and intensity of your physical activity to exceed your daily intake is key.
- Goals for physical activity in general should include at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity weekly. Thirty minutes five times a week is and easy goal to remember. Moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise can help lower your blood pressure and the risk for heart attack and stroke. This may include a number of activities such as walking, jogging, swimming, or biking. Strength and stretching exercises are best for overall stamina and flexibility. Pick something enjoyable that will make you more likely to adhere to your exercise program. Everyone has to start somewhere, don’t expect to reach your set goals from the start. Set smaller goals and work up.
- Eat a variety of nutritious foods from all the food groups and avoid high calorie/nutrient poor foods. A variety of fruits and vegetable, whole grains, low fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish as well as nuts, legumes, and non-tropical vegetable oils should be included. Limit saturated fats, trans fats, sodium, red meat, and foods high in sugar.
- Diagnosing and treating high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes is extremely important in cardiovascular disease prevention and a cornerstone of treatment. See your doctor regularly and be evaluated, and if necessary, treated.
- If you smoke, STOP!!! Avoiding second hand smoke is also important, so help your loved ones or those that live with you stop.
All of these recommendations can help you lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. If you already have been diagnosed with heart disease or stroke, it is even more important to implement a program of risk modification. Patients who have been diagnosed with heart disease, have had a stent, heart attack, or heart failure, or have had open heart surgery such as coronary artery bypass or valve replacement, may benefit from our cardiac rehabilitation program. Cardiac rehab focuses on teaching risk factor modification and developing exercise programs tailored to each heart patient. Patients learn and exercise in a safe monitored environment with other like them, gradually improving their functional capacity and improving their cardiovascular health.
How Pomerene Can Help You
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Blog Written By: Alex Nicolozakes, M.D.