Cardiovascular Exercise & Diet Plan

DietHealthClub.com tells readers that diet and exercise are key to regaining and maintaining cardiovascular health. Keeping body fat in check, particularly around the midsection, helps lower the risk for heart disease. Although many people find it difficult to change their lifestyles, having a strategy to create your heart-healthy diet and exercise plan can make it much easier.

  1. Visit Your Doctor

    • Schedule a checkup before starting a new diet or exercise plan. Every person has different needs, and your doctor can best advise you on the optimum program of exercise and diet. And if you're a smoker, your doctor can recommend the best ways to quit, which will make your heart healthier. You might want to ask her whether you should be on aspirin for heart health.

    Evaluate Your Diet

    • The American Heart Association discusses proper diet habits at AmericanHeart.org. Its "No Fad Diet" program is a guideline for heart-healthy eating. It advises readers to set realistic goals and commit themselves. A low-calorie, low-fat diet that has balance and variety is an excellent start.

      MayoClinic.com gives guidelines for heart-healthy eating, such as limiting saturated and trans-fats. It recommends replacing butter and margarine with low-fat alternatives.

      It's important to eat protein, but make sure to include lean meat, poultry and fish. Other sources of protein are low-fat dairy products and egg whites. Beans, legumes and peas also are good low-fat, cholesterol-free meat substitutes.

      Fruits and vegetables are important sources of vitamins and minerals essential for the heart. They also contain fiber, which helps lower cholesterol.

      Replace white bread products with whole-grain alternatives. Whole grains have important nutrients that help maintain healthy blood pressure. Limit the amount of salt, which is linked to increased blood pressure.

    Make an Exercise Plan

    • Fitstep.com discusses exercises that many people enjoy. Walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling are excellent cardiovascular workouts. It is recommended to get at least 30 minutes of heart-healthy exercise, at least three times a week. Exercise also is effective in reducing stress, and that's very good for the heart.

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