The first New Year’s resolution you can make is to protect your heart over the New Year’s holiday itself. Alongside Christmas, New Year’s is one of the most hazardous days of the year in terms of heart health. Researchers aren’t sure why, but more fatal heart attacks occur at Christmas and New Year’s than at any other time of year in the United States. One theory is that people’s routines, including diet and exercise, change dramatically during this period and may contribute to heart attack. So on New Year’s, celebrate, but do so in moderation. Make heart-healthy food choices and limit alcohol consumption.
But what about once you are past the holiday? What heart-health resolutions should you carry forward? Consider the benefits to your heart when you resolve to make changes to your diet or to exercise more. Even modest weight loss (if you are overweight or obese) can reduce your risk of heart disease or slow the progress of existing disease. If you smoke, think about the benefits to your heart when you make that resolution to quit. Tobacco use damages your arteries and can contribute to heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular events. Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do for your heart health.
A resolution you may be less likely to consider is to make a doctor’s appointment for yourself or for a loved one. When was the last time you discussed your heart health with your doctor? And do you know a loved one who would be more likely to go to the doctor if you scheduled the appointment or drove him or her to the office?Don’t forget your heart health when you are making New Year’s resolutions. Heart attack is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States, so making a resolution to take care of your heart can be one of the most important things you do to have the highest possible quality of life into the coming year.