Skip to content

Health & Balance

Font Size
A
A
A

Health Tips for Heart, Mind, and Body

If you only do 5 things to boost health, what should you do?
By
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Unhealthy lifestyle. It's a common contributor of our biggest health problems: stroke, heart disease, diabetes, cancer. What do the nation's top physicians recommend to keep your heart, mind, and body in optimally good health?

For the secrets to a long healthy life, WebMD turned to Richard A. Lange, MD, chief of cardiology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. His advice:

Recommended Related to Mind, Body, Spirit

How to Breathe Better

When heart specialist John M. Kennedy, M.D., of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, stands at the scrub sink before an operation, he breathes deeply with  seven-count exhales, visualizing how he wants the procedure to go. "Athletes use these techniques to perform under pressure, but we can all call on them in our regular lives," Dr. Kennedy says. It starts with knowing what kind of breathing works best for the challenge you're facing. Here's what the latest research shows. REV UP If...

Read the How to Breathe Better article > >

1. Daily exercise.

You brush your teeth every day; exercise is equally important for your daily routine. Turn off the TV or computer, and get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.

To work your heart, it's got to be aerobic exercise. You've got lots of options: walking, jogging, biking, rowing machine, elliptical machine, swimming. But don't feel like you have to be an athlete. Walking is great exercise. Get 10 minutes here and there during the day. It all counts.

Start with something simple, like parking in the far corner of the parking lot -- so you get those extra steps to the door. Take the stairs one or two flights instead of the elevator. If you take public transportation, get off one stop early and walk the rest. Get out at lunch to walk. Or walk with your significant other or your spouse after work. You'll get a bonus -- relaxation and stress reduction.

2. Healthy diet.

Quit eating junk food and high-fat fast food. Your heart, brain, and overall health are harmed by foods high in saturated fats, salt, and cholesterol. There's no getting around it. You've got to replace them with healthy foods: lots of fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, olive oil -- what we call the Mediterranean diet. Eat like an Italian, a Spaniard, a Greek! Enjoy!

3. Weight loss.

Too much body weight puts your health at great risk. When you take in more calories than you burn, you get fat -- it's that simple. You've got to eat less. You've got to exercise more. You've got to push yourself to make these lifestyle changes -- but you've got to do it to help avoid serious health problems like heart disease, diabetes, or stroke.

Today on WebMD

woman in yoga class
6 health benefits of yoga.
beautiful girl lying down of grass
10 relaxation techniques to try.
 
mature woman with glass of water
Do you really need to drink 8 glasses of water a day?
coffee beans in shape of mug
Get the facts.
 
Take your medication
Slideshow
highlighted colon
Article
 
Hungover man
Slideshow
Welcome mat and wellington boots
Slideshow
 
Woman worn out on couch
Article
Happy and sad faces
Quiz
 
Fingertip with string tied in a bow
Article
laughing family
Quiz