Maybe your New Year's resolutions have been long forgotten. If you already dropped the diet and haven't spent much time in a workout facility, don't despair. Maybe you were overthinking it.
Here are 2 bad habits to drop, and 3 really good ones to pick up to get on the path to a lifestyle that keeps your heart healthy. If you only tackle one at a time — whether it's dropping a bad habit or picking up a new one, you'll be one step closer to guarding yourself against heart disease — the No. 1 killer of American adults.
Let's get started!
Some Heart Healthy Habits
If you're a smoker, this is one habit that you need to focus your attention on tackling. It's more than worth the effort. According to the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute, you can decrease your risks for heart disease as soon as you quit. If you've been diagnosed with coronary heart disease, you can reduce your risk for another heart attack and cardiovascular death by as much as 50 percent. Numerous organizations and programs are available to help you quit. The American Lung Association also provides a list of tips.
Try not to focus on getting a body with ripped abs or that's comparable to your favorite movie star. You'll get discouraged fast if you're not seeing immediate results. Instead, focus on attaining smaller goals – whether that's walking for 30 minutes after a meal, regularly taking the stairs or getting in a minimum of 10,000 steps a day, as recommended by numerous health agencies. As you reach various milestones, mix it up so you won't get bored. Try cycling, rowing or jogging.
Keep your weight under control.
Skip the processed sweets and the fried fast foods, and go for more of the green leafy vegetables on the road to getting your weight at a manageable level. While regular exercise will help you manage weight, maintaining a healthy balanced diet will help you lose pounds as well. Studies show that being overweight contributes to heart disease.
Eat more fish.
Omega-3 fats are good for you, with studies showing that they can help protect you against heart disease. And fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and albacore tuna are rich in omega-3 fats.
Cut down on the alcohol.
While alcohol, in small quantities, has been shown to have some benefits for your heart, over-consuming alcohol can lead to you having a higher risk of high blood pressure and high levels of blood fats. Not only that, all those calories can contribute to you being overweight or obese — also a risk for heart disease.