It's National Heart Month -- a good time to think more deeply about your health and how to make heart-healthy lifestyle choices.
"More people know about heart health now than they did 20 years ago," said Dr. Gretchen Wells, Director of Women's Heart Health at the Gill Heart Institute. "But we still have a lot of work to do, especially with women, whose symptoms can be different than men's."
Many believe that heart health involves strenuous tasks and countless hours at the gym. But just 30 minutes of exercise five out of seven days a week can reduce heart attack risk by up to 50 percent.
"You can kill two birds with one stone by doing a few simple tasks around the house," Wells said. "Even a little bit of physical activity can have a big benefit on your health."
According to the Calorie Control Council, activities such as dusting or vacuuming can burn up to 216 calories in the comfort of your home.
Dr. Wells provides a few reminders to begin living heart-healthy:
• Be active for at least 30 minutes a day
• Choose foods that are low in sodium and saturated fat
• Take steps to quit smoking
• Know your numbers. If your blood glucose (sugar), cholesterol, blood pressure, and/or BMI are abnormal, get treatment.
Wells cautions that you should always check with your doctor before beginning an exercise routine. "They know your health status and can help you tailor a program that fits into your needs and your schedule -- both of which are important factors for success."
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