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Be Kind To Your Heart
If you’re a Type A personality who aims for perfection 24/7, the type of person who sees the glass as half empty instead of half full, or you carry anger with you throughout the year, you may be unnecessarily putting strain on your heart.
"Good nutrition and daily exercise are vitally important components to heart health, but psychological well-being is equally important. This is the best time to take an inventory of your overall health," says board-certified Internal Medicine specialist Dr. Abby Sokunbi.
The following tips should help you get started:
- Have your annual physical. Depending on your age and medical history, this check-up might include some tests, such as a lipid panel to test your cholesterol levels, screening for blood glucose levels, a complete blood count, a metabolic panel, or an EKG. This is also a good time to discuss with your physician any vaccinations you may need, such as the hepatitis vaccination or a tetanus booster.
- See a registered and licensed dietitian. Having your current diet and exercise habits analyzed by a professional can help identify nutrition-related conditions and help you make smart diet choices for your physical and mental health.
- Have a dental check-up and eye exam. Most people don’t realize that dental and vision health is an indicator of overall health.
- Develop a plan. Based on the evaluations and recommendations of your physician, dietitian, dentist, and eye doctor, develop a plan to get yourself back on track to improve your health.
- Think in positive terms. While there is nothing wrong with resolving to stop eating sweets, it’s more constructive and positive to say, “I will eat five servings of fruit and vegetables a day.”
- Be specific. Many people make big, vague resolutions, such as losing weight, eating healthier, or exercising more. The best resolutions are very specific and attainable. Breaking down the big goal of losing weight into smaller chunks will make it easier. If one of your resolutions is “I will walk for 30 minutes a day, five days a week,” you have a specific goal – something by which to measure your success and keep yourself accountable.
- Replace bad habits with good habits. A bad habit is easier to break if you replace it with a good habit. For example, if you’ve gotten into the habit of picking up fast food on the way home from a busy day at work, resolve to find one new healthy and fast recipe every week and add that to your weekly shopping list. If you know that you have the ingredients for a quick, healthy meal at home, it makes hitting the drive-thru easier to resist.
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