Simple lifestyle changes to ensure heart health

Last Updated: Monday, January 25, 2010 - 00:00

Washington: A few simple lifestyle changes can keep your heart healthy by reducing the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes, according to researchers at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

Fitness expert Karin Richards, director of the exercise science and wellness management program at the University has revealed changes that people can incorporate in their lifestyle to remain heart healthy, and they are:

Exercise Daily

Engage in cardiovascular exercises such as running, walking, or swimming, at least 20-30 minutes a day, every day.

Gauge your exercise intensity with the sing/talk test— If your pace is meeting your target heart rate, you should be able to talk without being breathless. If you can’t catch your breath to talk, your exercise intensity is too great. If you can sing while you exercise, it’s not vigorous enough.

Walk everywhere—skip the elevator and the escalator and take the stairs.

Manage Stress

Spend at least 10 minutes each day doing an activity you find relaxing, such as yoga, meditation, reading, or walking. Consume stimulants such as coffee, tea, soft drinks, and chocolate in moderation.

Caffeine can increase the body’s levels of cortisol, the “stress hormone,” which has been linked with higher body fat percentages and increased stress.

Know Your Numbers

Resting Heart Rate— Find your resting heart rate in the morning before getting out of bed. With your index and middle finger on your radial artery on the wrist or at the carotid artery in your neck. Over three days, count how many beats occur within 60 seconds to get an average. For adults, a normal resting heart rate is 60 to 100 beats per minute. An unusually high or low heart rate may indicate an underlying problem. Consult your doctor if your resting heart rate is consistently above 100 or below 60.

Target Heart Rate— Target heart rates vary by age, but they are the range, which enables one``s heart and lungs to receive the most benefit from a workout.

Cholesterol Levels— High blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke and should be checked by your healthcare provider at least once a year.

ANI



First Published: Monday, January 25, 2010 - 00:00
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