At Maryland Cardiology Associates in Greenbelt, Maryland, our experts are concerned about your heart. We want you to live an active, healthy lifestyle that keeps your heart functioning as well as possible for as long as possible!

Happily, there are some fairly straightforward things you can do to benefit your heart health. We share seven here.

1. Quit smoking

At this point, you already know that smoking is bad for your health. It affects your cardiovascular system in silent, dangerous ways. If you want to quit, but you’re struggling, talk to one of our providers, or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW. There are many resources freely available to help you make this big improvement to your health.

2. Address your diet

Okay, we admit that changing your diet may not be an easy lifestyle intervention. However, it’s a worthy one, and it can be simple. If you focus on adding vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains, while also limiting salt, saturated fat, and added sugar, you’re on your way to a healthy diet.

Nutrition can seem complicated because there’s a lot of conflicting information available. Fad diets and poorly conducted studies can lead to confusion. However, going with the basics of more fruits and vegetables along with less fat and sugar is a good way to create positive change.

3. Exercise regularly

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. That’s 30 minutes of activity five days a week, so you should try to exercise more days than you don’t. Including exercises that increase your muscle strength along with exercises that raise your heart rate is the best option.

The good news is that you can break up that 30-minute block of time if you need to. If you can only walk for 10 minutes, try doing so three times per day. If your schedule is super busy, take the stairs when you can, park far away from the store, or spend five minutes walking as soon as you get home.

4. Understand your risks

Many factors contribute to your risk of heart disease. Your family history, your medical history, whether or not you smoke or have smoked, your stress level, and many, many other elements of your life affect your risk.

Understanding your unique life and body can help you know how carefully you should monitor your heart health. More risk factors mean you should take as many precautions as you can.

Modifiable risk factors can help you mitigate the unmodifiable ones. For example, you can’t change your genetics, but you can make sure you eat a nutritious diet and exercise regularly.

5. Visit your doctor regularly

Regular checkups are particularly important if you have concerns about your heart health. When you see your doctor at regular intervals, they have a baseline for tracking metrics that can help them understand your heart health, like your blood pressure.

6. Take your medications as directed

According to the CDC, about half of adults in the US have high blood pressure, but only one in four have their blood pressure under control, raising the risk of heart disease for the other three drastically.

Taking medications to control chronic conditions like high blood pressure can be key in mitigating your risk of cardiovascular disease.

7. Work on reducing chronic stress

Stress is a natural reaction to danger, but when your body behaves as if you’re in danger all the time, it becomes a problem. Chronic stress is a factor in heart health.

It’s easy to say “lower your stress,” but doing it can be very difficult. Following the other tips in this post, such as getting regular exercise, can help. Scheduling time for things you enjoy, even if it’s 20 minutes to read or play a video game, can help as well.

Get an expert opinion

If you have questions about your heart health, getting an opinion from an expert is always a good idea. We can help you understand whether you have reason for concern, which lifestyle interventions are likely to have the greatest positive impact on your heart health, and give you guidance tailored to your circumstances.

Schedule your appointment at Maryland Cardiology Associates today. Call our office or book a visit online.

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