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How to Play the Game of Hearts and Win

By Sandy Schroeder

Protecting the heart can seem like an endless game. We all look for the best approach for ourselves and our family, but it’s really easy if we just take a few direct steps, according to HarvardHealth.

Harvard's doctors say, “Some factors such as genes, age, air pollution, or neighborhoods that make walking difficult, are beyond our ability to change. But there are factors we can control. Changeable risk factors are at the root of many cases of cardiovascular disease.”

Here are five of the most important things you can do to protect your heart:

Make movement your magic bullet - Any activity or exercise is better than none for the heart. Try for 30 minutes of walking or other workouts every day and keep moving at home and on the job. Stand rather than sit. Stay active in the evenings and on the weekends.

Keep your weight and health numbers in line - Keep blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight under control. Maintain regular checkups with your doctor to correct heart issues early. If you have extra fat around the belly you are at greater risk for heart disease and diabetes. Losing 5 to 10 percent of your weight can improve blood sugar and blood pressure.

Eat for health - Focus your meals to dine with family and friends and create a healthy menu from fresh fruits and vegetables, good protein (fish, poultry, nuts and beans) whole grains, unsaturated fat, and herbs and spices. Reduce salt, white bread, rice and potatoes, red meat, and sugary drinks.

Eliminate tobacco – Cigarettes, pipes, cigars and secondhand smoke are all toxic for the heart, arteries and lungs. Don’t play with fire - stop!

Limit alcohol - If you drink, hold it to two or fewer drinks daily for men, and one drink a day for women. If you drink more, read the latest research on binge drinking and heavier daily drinking. The findings all say it shortens life.

How to Make Changes

If you or someone in your family needs to make one or more changes, the American Heart Association suggests you start with a positive mental approach. The better you feel about yourself the more likely you will be successful in making the changes.

  • Find your motivation pinpointing what makes you want to change
  • Pin down your goals with specific details to make them happen
  • Keep track of your progress in a notebook, on the computer or on your phone
  • Pull together the support you need from friends, family, and your doctor

Wherever you are with needing changes, the most important thing is really to keep on going. Build on big and small successes. Each one counts in the game of hearts!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Flower Mound, Tex.

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