Each new year brings excitement for resolutions and changes. As you plan your heart-health goals for 2023, we invite you to think small rather than big. Consider easy and simple healthy habits that you can practically apply to your lifestyle. These add up over time for a long-lasting impact. Below are five small steps and recommendations from our team for this new year.
1. Limit Sodium (Salt) in Your Diet
Eating too much sodium or salt can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. Nine out of ten Americans consume too much sodium. Most of it comes from prepackaged foods or those found in a restaurant. The American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium to about 1,500 milligrams per day.1 Be sure to read nutrition labels and look for reduced sodium options, especially when eating canned soups, pizzas, and sandwiches.
2. Drink Alcohol in Moderation
Excessive amounts of alcohol can put you at risk for heart disease. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends one drink or less per day for women and two drinks or less per day for men.2
3. Know Your Numbers
Prioritize your routine healthcare appointments so you can get your cholesterol and blood pressure levels checked. In Hawai’i, 32 percent of the population has high cholesterol and 34 percent has high blood pressure.3 Knowing your numbers sooner than later can help you take steps to lower them.
3. Schedule 30 Minutes of Physical Activity
Exercise is essential to maintain a healthy weight. In Hawai‘i, nearly 60 percent of adults are overweight or obese, a risk factor for heart disease.4 Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity each week and include muscle-strengthening exercises at least two times a week.5 Block out time on your alendar to hold yourself accountable and incorporate activities you enjoy the most, such as dancing, yoga, hula, or hiking.
5. Get Outside to Help Manage Stress
High levels of chronic stress may increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Spending time in nature has been shown to help improve moods and relieve anxieties. Take a walk and enjoy the scenic view