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Healthy habits: Your healthy results begin as soon as steps are taken

Mar. 07, 2013 @ 02:19 PM

February is heart month, and it's always a great time to revisit any of your New Year's resolutions to live healthier, especially focusing on your heart health. Changing lifestyle habits is never easy, but there are some immediate steps you can take that will start you on a path of action.

The American Heart Association focuses on several topics as part of its "Getting Healthy" initiative, and it begins with what you're eating.

NUTRITION: At the heart of good health is good nutrition. Find heart healthy recipes and pay attention to ingredients while shopping and dining out.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Walking for as few as 30 minutes a day provides heart health benefits, and it's an exercise that has one of the lowest dropout rates for people trying to maintain an exercise plan.

WEIGHT MANAGEMENT: Establish an ideal body weight for yourself by talking with your family doctor. Set goals if you need to lose weight and focus on calorie intake. You have to use up more calories than you take in to lose pounds.

STRESS MANAGEMENT: Stress can get out of control in our busy lives. Planning and organization can help, and remember to laugh once in a while. Spend a few minutes each day doing something you enjoy.

QUIT SMOKING: Smoking can cause coronary artery disease, heart attacks and stroke. Any other efforts to be heart healthy are often erased by the effects of smoking.

Visit the American Heart Association website at www.heart.org for more details on these topics.

Valentine's Day is fast approaching, and you want to be heart healthy for the people you love.

Source: American Heart Association.

Join our Healthy Habits 2013 conversation on Facebook, www.facebook.com/healthyhabits2013.

Healthy Habits 2013 is a partnership among Cabell Huntington Hospital, Marshall University, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and St. Mary's Medical Center. We are a community working together to improve our health. Check out a "Healthy Habits" tip every Friday in The Herald-Dispatch.

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