Keeping Your Heart Healthy with CoreLife
Your heart is one of the most important organs in your body. Eating well and exercising keeps you and your heart in shape and healthy. Experts from CoreLife and Adventist HealthCare help break down the importance of maintaining a healthy weight for your heart and what steps you can take to do it.
A healthy weight and your heart
While there are some things you can’t control when it comes to your heart, like genetics, you can control your weight. A healthy weight lowers you risk levels for health conditions like heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
“When you’re overweight, your heart has to work harder to pump more blood around your body to supply oxygen and nutrients, which raises your blood pressure,” explains Avni Jain, MD, a family medicine physician with Adventist Medical Group and medical director at CoreLife. “Not only does it work harder, but your bad cholesterol (LDL) levels are increased causing your arteries to clog. Your good cholesterol (HDL) levels are also decreased which makes it harder to remove the bad cholesterol.”
These risks can be lowered and reversed by working to maintain a healthy weight, not only for your overall health, but for your heart health as well.
Maintaining a healthy weight
There are several ways to help yourself reach and maintain a healthy weight. Remember, it’s not about a number on a scale but better health. Everybody is different and what works for some may not work for others. That is why it is important to develop a plan that works for you. Follow these tips to make lasting lifestyle changes that promote a healthy heart and better overall health.
Eating Healthy Foods
Add more fruits, vegetables and whole grains to your diet. “If this is something new for you, start slowly and add these foods into your diet a little at a time. Aim to make this a lifestyle change, not a quick fix,” explains Allison Farrow, RD, regional dietetics lead in Montgomery County at CoreLife. Making these changes can help you form healthy habits. Take these steps to make your meals healthier:
- Serve a variety of vegetables and fruits at each meal
- Keep healthy snacks on hand
- Choose lean meats
- Avoid fried foods
- Include whole grains such as, oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa or whole-wheat breads and pastas
- Eat protein-rich foods
- Drink more water
Aim to exercise five times a week for a minimum of 60 minutes a day. “If you can’t exercise for 60 minutes at once, break it up throughout the day in either two 30-minute time periods or four 15-minute periods. The exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous and intensive either,” says Allison. Some exercises you can do are:
- Strength training
- Jumping rope
It can be hard to stay motivated and keep going, but there are ways to help hold yourself accountable. Try the following:
- Find a workout buddy
- Set a non-food reward for progress
- Keep an exercise log
- Incorporate a variety of activities
If you know you’re going to be busy and eating a healthy balanced meal is going to be difficult, try meal planning. “Planning what you’re going to eat will take the stress away at meal time and keep you from going for the easy meals and snacks, which tend to be the unhealthy options,” says Allison.
When you know you’re going to be eating out or ordering take out, account for that in your day. Eating out at your favorite restaurants in moderation can help you eat healthy at home. Select one day a week to eat take out and aim to eat at home the other days.
Making your lunch the night before makes it easier to grab and go in the morning if you’re headed to the office or grab it out of the fridge when you’re working from home.
Knowing how your day and week looks in advance allows you to be better prepared and keep yourself organized and accountable for your health. Not only does this help with eating, but also exercising. If you know you can’t work out in the evening, wake up early to complete your workout in the morning and vice versa. “If you’re able to plan ahead, you’ll be more likely to continue with this lifestyle change to better your health,” adds Allison.
It can be difficult to get started and stay motivated when making a lifestyle change. Having a support system can help you stay accountable and encourage you to continue your journey of becoming a healthier you. Finding a friend or family member to do it with you can also help keep you both accountable since you’re going through it together. You can also talk with your doctor about finding other support and ways to get started. Finding support at CoreLife is also an option. The team helps you stay motivated to reach your goals. CoreLife creates a plan specific to you and your goals to help you achieve them. Working directly with a team of medical professionals, personal trainers and nutritionists will help encourage you to reach your goals and be excited for you when you make progress.
If you’d like to join CoreLife, talk with your doctor, visit our website or call us at 1-800-905-3261 for more information.