Four life hacks for improved heart health

Is improving your health at the top of your New Year’s resolution list? Start small for big change.

  • Making one change a week can help you start the year with success
  • Developing healthy morning habits makes a positive difference in your entire day
  • Laughter really is the best medicine

[2 MIN READ]

As 2019 fades and makes way for the new decade, it’s only natural to take stock of the past year, reflect on—and maybe revise—your life goals and the steps you’re taking to reach them.

If getting healthier is at the top of your New Year’s resolutions, you’re not alone. Health-related resolutions like eating healthier, exercising more or quitting smoking are listed every year in the top 10 things people hope to change.

Heart disease is responsible for 1 in 4 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making it the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Improving your heart health is one of the most impactful things you can do to improve your health overall.

Starting small, with attainable goals and reachable victories can help you achieve life-changing success.

It’s easy to make sweeping statements like, “I’m going to eat healthier,” or “I’m going to get more exercise.” But vague intentions and unrealistic expectations are among the top reasons January’s goals have long been forgotten by spring.

Starting small, with attainable goals and reachable victories can help you achieve life-changing success. Here are four heart health hacks to get you started. If you incorporate just one a week for the next month you may be surprised by the big difference small changes can make in your life.

Get up five minutes earlier

Give yourself five minutes to start your day with a few deep breaths or a couple minutes of meditation. Quickly review all you have to be thankful for and begin your morning in a positive frame of mind. You’ll set the tone for the rest of your day, which reduces your stress level and ultimately your heart health.

Replace your first cup of coffee with green tea

Green tea has many proven health benefits, according to the National Institutes of Health. Studies show green tea may help reduce several heart disease risk factors by lowering blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels.

Add one fruit or vegetable to each meal

Even when you have good intentions, it can be challenging to fit in the recommended 5–13 servings of fruits and veggies every day. Adding just one fruit or vegetable to every meal can significantly improve your nutrition over time. If that sounds too overwhelming, start by adding just one per day until you’re up to the recommended servings.

Laugh more, laugh often

It’s a proven fact. A good belly laugh can decrease stress hormones, improve cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation in your arteries, according to the American Heart Association

Find a doctor

When you need help making lifestyle changes to improve your heart health, the cardiologists at Providence partner with you to develop a realistic plan that you can maintain long term. You can find a doctor using our provider directory. Or you can search for a primary care doctor in your area.

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Is improving your health one of your goals for the coming year? Share your strategies for #hearthealth with readers @psjh.

Related resources

Is anxiety taking a toll on your heart?

5 surprising ways you may be damaging your heart

Common causes of chest pain

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional’s instructions.

 

About the Author

The Providence Heart & Vascular Team is committed to bringing you many years of expertise and experience to help you understand how to prevent, treat and recover from cardiovascular diseases and conditions. From tips to eating better to exercise and everything in between, our clinical experts know how to help you help your heart.

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