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
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:
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.
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
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