’Tis the season when New Year’s resolutions will be made ... and broken (some even right away).
Whether pledging to lose weight, exercise more or eat a healthier diet, the American Heart Association’s Simple Solutions tips can help you find an easier way to keep those resolutions. (See www.americanheart.org/simplesolutions)
This free educational program, sponsored by the California Walnut Commission, helps women learn how to make simple lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke the No. 1 and No. 3 killers of women, respectively.
“Many women make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, then get discouraged when they don’t see immediate results,” says Rose Marie Robertson, M.D., chief science officer for the American Heart Association. “The Simple Solutions program shows women that by taking simple steps each day, they can achieve their goals and help reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease.”
The program provides participants with a series of communications (including healthy recipes, and nutrition and exercise tips) that reinforce the idea that you can live a healthy life by taking one simple step each day.
“By following the easy tips offered in the Simple Solutions program, women have manageable ways to make positive lifestyle changes,” says Julie Moran, former Entertainment Tonight host and Simple Solutions spokesperson. “This program gives women the opportunity to not only make, but to stick with their New Year’s resolutions.”
Robertson says patience and moderation are keys to keeping resolutions and making positive lifestyle changes. “Women shouldn’t be hard on themselves if they slip up one day,” she says. “They should continue with their routine and realize that everyone slips from time to time. It is the everyday decisions we make that really count.”
The American Heart Association’s new primary prevention guidelines suggest that a healthy diet, physical activity on most days of the week, not smoking, maintaining appropriate blood pressure and cholesterol levels and controlling diabetes can help reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease. The Simple Solutions program provides helpful nutrition tips, in addition to providing program participants with tips to increase physical activity in indoors. Tips such as:
Write physical activity “appointments” into your daily planner or computer schedule. Respect them as you would any other appointment.
Don’t stay in your office for eight hours straight. You need at least two 15-minute breaks throughout the day. Take five of those 15 minutes to walk or do stretches. It will re-energize you and add to your fitness level.
When making the bed, increase the number of times you walk around the bed and walk quickly or stretch farther across the bed.
Take the stairs whenever you can. Each flight burns 10 calories! (A flight is about 10-12 steps .) Use the steps to do ankle lifts and calf stretches, too.
If you spend a lot of time talking on a cordless phone, make that time count! While talking, stretch your arms and legs and do squats or lunges or “wall sit.”
Bad weather? No problem! Go to your local mall and walk rapidly from one end to the other several times.
If you work in a large office building, make several laps around the building on your lunch break.
Women can enroll in the Simple Solutions program by calling 1-888-MY HEART or logging on to www.americanheart.org/simplesolutions .