We read articles all the time that list what we can do to keep our heart healthy, yet we all interpret them very differently. Going forward, I ask that you read these tips while understanding one phrase: “Practice does not make perfect – practice makes better.”
Here is a list of simple things you can practice doing to care for your heart.
Be your own health advocate. This means practice at being more aware of how your individual body responds to everything – how it responds to certain foods, medications, exercise, and environment changes. Keep a simple diary of these responses so you can talk to your health care provider if you ever need to. It will only help them help you more.
Practice daily physical activities. We’re not all marathon runners or professional fighters, so there’s no need to train like one. Just practice making a physical commitment to move more throughout the day. This will automatically benefit your heart. As a mother of two little ones who happens to work full time, some of the physical movements I do are laundry, washing dishes, sweeping, mopping, picking up things off the floor, getting the kids dressed, and running up and down the stairs because everything I need seems to always be upstairs, with cooking, walking the kids to school and back, more laundry, and work in between it all. “C’est la vie – that’s life.”
Practice eating better. Drink water 20 minutes before your meal. Chew slowly. Pay attention to the flavors in your food. Drink water 20 minutes after. If you feel you need to drink during your meal, it means you chewed and swallowed your food too quickly, and it also means you need to stop. Life isn’t fair and I know you want to finish your food in one sitting, but just practice at eating better. Wait two hours and eat that same meal using the above techniques.
Brush your teeth. Your dental health is a direct connection to your heart health. Please read that previous sentence again. Practice better dental hygiene. Having white teeth has nothing to do with your heart health – practicing proper dental hygiene does. Visit and talk to your dentist. Most dental insurance covers two cleanings a year – use them!
Play and laugh more. Adults need recess, too. Besides the obvious physical benefit of movement in playing, research indicates children play because it utilizes their creativity and develops and improves imagination, cognitive and emotional strength, and brain development. As adults, does that mean we no longer need them? Absolutely not. Practice does not make us perfect. Practice makes us better.
Kim Manalansan is a freelance writer