You’ve heard it all before, all you have to do to get healthy is eat right and exercise. Sounds simple right? Well if it really is that easy then how is it that so many Americans are suffering from heart related conditions due to obesity and poor lifestyle choices?

If you’re ready to start making significant changes in your lifestyle in order to improve your health, here are a few places to start.

Adopt a heart healthy diet
Possibly the largest contributor to heart conditions is a poor diet. And a poor diet paired with a genetic predisposition to heart conditions is a dangerous position to put yourself in. If your physician has warned you about your unhealthy diet, or you’re simply feeling nervous about the future of your heart health, there is no time like the present to begin implementing positive changes in your diet. A good place to begin is by cutting processed foods from your diet. This includes almost anything that comes in a bag or a box. These foods, even the low fat or gluten free items, are generally not providing you with the nutrition that your body needs to function well.

Quit smoking
Smoking increases your risk for heart disease for several different reasons. First and foremost, cigarette smoke damages your arteries leading to the eventual narrowing of your arteries. If blood cannot travel efficiently to and from your heart you are more likely to have a heart attack. Another lesser known factor is that the nicotine in your favorite cigarette or (or e-cigarette) triggers the production of adrenaline in your body, raising your blood pressure.

Get more sleep
Adequate amounts of sleep are directly related to your body’s ability to maintain and healthy weight and lifestyle. People who sleep less than the recommended 6-8 hours per night are more likely to experience elevated levels of stress and have a hard time losing weight due to extra cortisol production. Obesity and stress are both significant factors in heart related illness that can be lessened in part by getting adequate sleep.

Exercise regularly
Making a habit of regular exercise is another way to care for your cardiac health. Exercise is not only good for your body and helps maintain a healthy weight, but it is also a great way to reduce stress and improve your mood. And don’t be fooled into believing that all fitness must involve running long distances or participating in extreme sports. If you live a relatively sedentary lifestyle, even getting outside and going for a long walk is an excellent first step in building a healthy habit.

While each of these things may sound simple, they’re not always as easy as they sound. Take them one step at a time, and most importantly consult a physician. If you are at all concerned about your cardiac health we recommend that you contact us today for a consultation. Our team of dedicated physicians are happy to support you in your journey to cardiac health.