Regular physical exercise makes you feel better and live longer. It keeps the walls of your arteries flexible, which helps dampen rises in blood pressure, reducing your risk of stroke and atherosclerosis. Walking just a half hour every day will help to control your weight and improve your health.
2. If you smoke cigarettes, absolutely, positively stop for good.
Dr. Thomas H. Lee, M.D. writes, “No ’wonder drug’ does as much to reduce a smoker’s risk of heart attack as does giving up cigarettes.” Talk about the issue with your doctor. Then, do something special for yourself as a reward with the money you’ve been spending on cigarettes.
3. Take your medications every day the way they are prescribed.
Only about half of people take their pills as regularly as they are supposed to. The result is that blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and other conditions are not nearly as well controlled as they might be. Put them right next to your tooth brush, or post a chart on your refrigerator.
4. Work at improving communication with your physicians.
If you are having side effects that dampen your enthusiasm for your medications, tell your doctor. There are so many good choices today, physicians almost always can find an alternative that works for you. Write down what you want to talk about, and when the doctor talks to you, write his or her points down. At the end of the visit, try summarizing your understanding of what the doctor has said.
5. Eat better
Being overweight taxes your heart and your joints, and increases your risk for hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes. Try to lose just one pound per month for the year --it just takes walking a bit more each day, or giving up one cookie per day. But if you do this, you’ll need new clothes a year from now --and feel better for it.