- By Micah Dorfner
Get a quick start on better heart health
Since February is American Heart Month, it’s a great time to think about the health of your heart. “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women,” says Anita Inveiss, M.D., a family medicine physician at Mayo Clinic Health System. “Fortunately, small changes can make a difference when it comes to improving your heart health.”
If you can go from a sedentary lifestyle to being active for one hour a week, you’ve greatly reduced your risk for heart disease, says Dr. Inveiss.
Dr. Inveiss recommends trying this two-week heart health quick start from the Mayo Clinic Healthy Heart Plan:
- Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
Make a conscious effort to include more fruits and vegetables in your meals. Don’t worry so much about the foods you shouldn’t eat. Just work on getting five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
- Add at least 10 minutes of moderately intense physical activity to your day.
You don’t need to do an elaborate workout. Take the stairs. Take a walk. Just get moving.
- Try to get eight hours of good, quality sleep each night.
Quality sleep is good for your heart. Even though each person’s sleep needs vary, eight hours is a good amount to shoot for.
“All of these tips are meant to be tried for two weeks before moving on to a more established heart-healthy plan. But there’s nothing wrong with continuing this quick start for longer periods,” explains Dr. Inveiss.
A number of reputable diet and exercise plans are available. Talk with your primary care provider to find a plan that fits your needs.