Did you know people with close relationships at home, work or in the community tend to be healthier and live longer? One reason according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is that we’re more successful at meeting our health goals when we join forces with others.
Why Connecting is Good for Your HeartFeeling connected with and being motivated by others benefits our overall health, including our blood pressure and weight. Follow these heart healthy lifestyle tips with everyone and you’ll be heart healthier for it:
Move moreInvite others to join in your efforts to be more physically active:
Aim for a healthy weightFind someone who also wants to reach or maintain a healthy weight. Losing just 5-10% helps. Check in with your partner regularly to stay motivated. Try walking or playing on a neighborhood sports team. Share low-calorie, low-sodium meals or recipes.
Eat heart healthyResearch shows that eating healthier, compared to a typical American diet, lowers high blood pressure and improves blood cholesterol levels. Find delicious recipes at NHLBI’s Heart Healthy Eating web page.
Quit smokingGain support from family/friends to stop smoking or join a support group. Research shows people are more likely to quit if someone close does. Online support can also help you quit. Remember, thousands of adult nonsmokers die of stroke, heart disease and lung cancer caused by secondhand smoke.
Manage stressReducing stress improves heart health. Entice a friend or family member to do a relaxing activity daily (walk, do yoga, meditate or enroll in a stress management class). Talk to a qualified mental health provider or someone you trust.
Improve sleepSleeping 7-8 hours a night is heart-healthy. De-stressing and getting 30-minutes of sunlight daily also helps with sleep. Take a walk instead of a late afternoon nap! Turn off all screens and relax with music, reading or a bath.
Track your heart health stats with a partnerLogging your blood pressure, weight goals, physical activity and blood sugar numbers helps you stay on a heart healthy track. Ask your friends or family to join the effort. Check out NHLBI’s Healthy Blood Pressure for Healthy Hearts: Tracking Your Numbers worksheet.
You don’t have to make big changes all at once. Small steps will get you where you want to go.
Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. About 90% of middle-aged people and more than 74% of young adults have one or more risk factors for heart disease (diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, smoking and obesity). Having multiple risk factors increases your risk for heart disease.