30 Days to a Healther Heart

April 14, 2016

A month may seem like a short time to make changes but it’s enough time to achieve some big improvements in your heart health. It's much easier to make changes if you make one change a week that will help you lower sodium, get active, quit smoking, and control blood pressure to boost your heart health this month.

Here is an easy four week plan to follow:

Halt The Salt
Most American adults (and children too) are eating too much sodium. In fact, we are eating about 3,400 mg of sodium a day, when most of us should have only 1,500 mg per day. Eating too much sodium increases your risk for high blood pressure, a major contributor to heart disease and stroke.

Week 1
Read Nutrition Facts Labels. Processed foods account for most of the sodium in our diet, not the salt shaker at home. When shopping at the grocery store, look for the lowest sodium options of your favorite foods. 

Week 2
Eat more servings of fruits and vegetables a day to ward off heart disease. A diet rich in fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables can help lower sodium.

Week 3
Eat out less, cook more at home. One restaurant meal can easily add up to more than a day’s worth of sodium. Try making some of your favorite dishes with lower sodium ingredients at home. If a recipe calls for salt, use half the amount. You can also experiment with fresh herbs like cumin, basil, rosemary and cilantro to wake up your palette and enhance the taste of your food.

Week 4
Eat less of the Saltiest Top 10 Foods. Knowing the foods that contribute the most sodium in today’s diet can help you make wiser, healthier choices. Here are the common foods that can lead to sodium overload: bread and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, soups, sandwiches, cheese, pasta dishes, meat dishes and snacks.

Get Moving
Regular physical activity is a must for having a healthy heart. Commit to exercising 5 times per week or 150 minutes per week. Schedule your workout days on your calendar and treat them like an important appointment you can’t miss. In addition to helping your heart, exercise will give you more energy and reduce stress.

Week 1
Aim for 30 minutes. Moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week is a great way to lower your risk of heart disease. You can either workout for 30 minutes all at once or try breaking up your workout into 3-10 minute intervals throughout your day. If you don’t want to go to the gym, try taking a brisk walk around your neighborhood or at your local mall to kick off your new fitness habit.

Week 2
Build Muscle. Pumping iron can help your body’s most important muscle—your heart. You can begin slowly, increasing the weight and repetitions as you progress. Adding resistance training to your workout has other benefits too, including increased bone density, coordination, and keeping a healthy weight.
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Week 3
Take a class. Try dancing, yoga, or Pilates to add variety to your fitness routine. It’s a great way to try something new and keep your body moving. Take a friend with you and have fun exploring new activities.

Week 4
Go High-tech. Try one of the many fitness apps available on your smart phone to help reach your fitness goals. Think of it as a personal trainer in your phone ready 24/7 to give you training tips and motivation when you need it. Many of these apps are free and can log your workout progress.

At Lake Prince Woods residents can choose from seven different exercise classes as well as use the treadmills, cardio trainer, and stationary bike in the fitness room.  Resident Services staff also assist residents in weight training.  Our 172 wooded acres provide lots of outdoor space for walking and biking.

To visit Lake Prince Woods and learn more about active lifestyles, please contact Kaye Albin, 757-923-5504, [email protected] or Trish Alt, 757-923-5559, [email protected]