It's soon to be the season for resolutions, so how about resolving to have a healthier heart?
Step one to a healthier heart, take more steps.
Cardiologist Dr. Barry Franklin says this year resolve to disguise your exercise.
"By that I mean get in the habit of covering at least 30 minutes of walking throughout the day. Get to work 10 minutes early, walk briskly over the lunch hour walk to 10 minutes and when you're all done walk an additional 10 minutes, and I mean briskly. Pick up the pace, walk like you're late for a doctor appointment or you're late for a meeting or something like that," said Franklin.
Resolution number two: Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke.
"It's the single greatest killer and crippler. In fact, the average lifelong cigarette smoker loses 10-12 years of their lifespan. People don't realize it. If you live with a smoker and he or she is a lifelong smoker, your risk for heart and lung disease is 30 percent higher. Cities and towns that open up smoking bans where you can't smoke anywhere have a big decrease in heart attacks and most of the decrease are in non-smokers," said Franklin.
Franklin says diet is also integral.
"Number 3, eat more fruits and veggies. We tell all of our patients at least five servings of fruits and veggies every day," said Franklin.
To make that happen, resolve to eat two fruits or vegetables at breakfast.
Finally, resolve to know your numbers when it comes to cholesterol.
"Number 4, find out what your cholesterol is and if its anything above 160, reduce it by 40 points. It's called the rule of 40, for every 40 points you lower it, you cut your risk in half. If your cholesterol is 240 in January and in December it's down to 200, you cut your risk of a heart attack in half. How do you do it? Healthier diet, more regular exercise, weight loss, and for some people they'll need a medication called a Statin which can lower cholesterol," said Franklin.
It's not too early to plan and whatever your resolution, write it down. Be specific about your goals and look at them every day.
These are lifestyle changes so, it takes time to make them part of your life and remember, these changes can significantly improve your heart health.