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5 Healthy-Heart Steps That Take Just Minutes

A few simple habits can help you protect your heart to live a longer, healthier life—starting now.

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Try It
Ask Your Employer

Workplaces are increasingly offering resources that help employees stay fit, says Johns Hopkins cardiologist Chiadi Ndumele, M.D., M.H.S. Ask your human resources department or check your employee handbook about the following possible benefits:

  • a discounted gym membership.
  • reimbursement for a pedometer or other fitness tracking devices.
  • fitness classes offered on-site.
  • wellness programs.

If none of these are available, ask whether you can get involved in setting up such programs.

Taking care of your heart doesn’t need to take a lot of time. Here are five quick actions you can take with big benefits to protect your heart.

Snack on nuts.

They supply healthy unsaturated fats. “Eating just 5 ounces of nuts per week is linked to decreased cardiovascular disease,” says Johns Hopkins dietitian Christie Williams, M.S., R.D.N.

Walnuts have more omega-3 fatty acids—which reduce bad cholesterol levels—than other nuts. Find more ideas for eating smart for a healthy heart.

Sneak in a burst of activity.

Getting more exercise is one of the best things you can do for a healthy heart. Ideally, you should exercise most days of the week, says Johns Hopkins professor of medicine and exercise physiologist Kerry J. Stewart, Ed.D. That could be 30 minutes a day, five days a week, for example.

But your heart also benefits from shorter bursts of activity, say 10 to 15 minutes at a stretch, with the goal of accumulating 150 minutes a week. Get a simple approach to moving more.

Go to bed just a little earlier.

Without enough sleep, your risk for heart disease and heart attack goes up—no matter your age, your weight, or how much you exercise or smoke. Learn about the link—and how to improve your sleep.

Make a call.

Schedule a checkup if you’re overdue so that you and your doctor can stay up-to-date on your heart risk and make a plan to protect your heart.

Download our Heart Smart guide.

Decade by decade, you’ll learn what to look for and what to do now, whether you’re 25 or 65, with easy-to-read tips, handy lists and practical knowledge that can keep you ahead of heart disease. Get your free copy now.

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