A few years ago I had a health scare that shook me up quite a bit. I realized that I needed to make some serious changes to my daily routines to ensure I was living healthier and happier. To help keep me accountable and to inspire and motivate others, I teamed up with my friend Michele of Midlife Healthy Living to do a weekly Healthy Habits Chat via Facebook.
Recently the American Heart Association published new recommendations designed to help adults live healthy, longer lives free of heart disease and stroke. Recommendations include physical activity, dietary guidance, and approaches to managing obesity, cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, as well as help quitting smoking.
I love that Michele and I reiterate many of the tips they share during our weekly chat.
8 Ways to Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), these key factors help you to live a longer and healthier life while reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke:
- Knowing your risk. The AHA has an online calculator you can use to determine your risk if you’re between the ages of 40-75 and never had a heart attack or stroke.
- Eating a healthy diet. I’ve shared recently how my doctor and nutritionist put me on a healthy meal plan that’s centered around the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet. Since implementing the changes I have begun to feel so much better. This is why it is important to have conversations with your doctors to find a plan that works for you.
- Being physically active. Did you know that adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week? That’s 21 minutes of moderate activity or 10 minutes of vigorous activity every day. We’ve got this, Divas!
- Watching your weight. I’ve shared during our Healthy Habits Chats that last year I was told I had to lose a significant amount of weight. It hasn’t been fun, but as I get closer to the weight my doctor and I have discussed is healthy for me, I can tell the difference in how I feel overall. Knowing that this is part of the guidelines for reducing my risk for heart disease and stroke is an added benefit and motivator.
- Living tobacco-free. Point blank. Period.
- Managing conditions. If you have conditions (hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, etc) that put you at a greater risk for heart disease or stroke, it’s essential to make the lifestyle changes necessary and work with your health care team to keep you healthy.
- Taking your medications as directed. Having a great relationship with your pharmacist is important, too. I recently began using a local pharmacy and the connections and care is out of this world.
- Being a team player and working with your health care team. You all have YOUR best interest and health as a priority. Don’t be intimidated about asking questions and sharing concerns you have.
Healthy Habits Chat on Heart Healthy Tips
During this Healthy Habits Chat we focused specifically on heart healthy tips that we can incorporate in our daily routines immediately. We both acknowledge that some of the things we need to do may not be fun, but they’re necessary and needed to ensure we’re living a healthy and happy life for ourselves and our loved ones.
Healthy Habits Chat on Stress Awareness
During this episode of our healthy habits chat we discussed the importance of managing stress in our daily lives. Stress can impact so many areas of our physical, mental and emotional lives.
Healthy Habits Chat on Simple Nutrition Tips
This was our first chat with guest co-hosts and we had so much fun! It’s great to have different perspectives and experiences to help us on our healthy habits journey. A big part of having a healthy routine and diet is focusing on your nutrition. The tips we covered are great reminders no matter where you are on your healthy habits journey.