Five simple steps can help lower your risk of heart disease, says a leading expert on preventive cardiology.
She offered the following heart health tips
Know your numbers. Ask your doctor about what are considered normal numbers for blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides.
Start exercising. Walking for just 20 to 30 minutes a few days a week can reduce the risk of premature death by more than 50 percent. Physical activity reduces blood pressure, improves cholesterol, reduces stress, improves sleep, boosts mood, improves cognition and prevents memory loss.
Laugh. Just 15 minutes of laughter equals about 30 minutes of aerobic exercise in terms of cardiovascular health. Research has also linked laughter with reductions in pain and anxiety, health function of blood vessels, and increased levels of brain hormones that improve your mood.
Pay more attention to your waistline than your weight. The waistline is a better measurement of overall health than weight because the amount of fat around your waist is directly linked to high blood pressure and high cholesterol and can increase your risk of diabetes.
Get adequate sleep. Lack of sleep boosts blood pressure, induces stress, increases your appetite, slows your metabolism, dampens your mood and decreases cognition.
Health Tip: Get the Right Fit for Athletic Shoes
Wearing properly-fitted athletic shoes can keep your feet comfy during a workout and help reduce the risk of injury.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers these suggestions for choosing athletic shoes
Shop for shoes when your feet are their largest -- either at the end of the day or after a workout.
Try on shoes with the same type of sock that you'll wear when you exercise.
Make sure you can easily wiggle your toes, and that the shoes are comfortable when you try them on.
Run or walk several steps in the shoes to make sure they're comfortable.
Properly lace shoes when you try them on.
Make sure the shoes firmly grip your heels and don't slip off when you're walking or running.
Choose a sports-specific shoe if you participate in a particular sport at least three times per week.