Did you know that New Year’s resolutions have been around for more than 4,000 years? They were first started by ancient Babylonians which used them as a way to celebrate the start of a new year, when fresh crops were planted in mid-March. Now New Year’s resolutions are typically used as a way to better oneself by making specific changes to aspects of one’s life. New Year’s resolutions are a great way to get started and keep you motivated to meet your goals for the year. In order to be successful in making your resolution, make sure to keep SMART goals in mind. SMART goals ensure that your goals are realistic and not too big or vague. In other words, your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound. If you are looking to make a heart healthy New Year’s resolution two examples of very important goals are quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy weight.

Quitting smoking as a resolution –

Smoking is a major risk factor for many diseases such as heart disease, cancer and stroke. The harmful chemicals inhaled during smoking can cause the heart to become damaged or weakened by having to work much harder to pump blood. This is due to the narrowing of arteries which comes from a buildup of plaque or clots. Smoking is one of the biggest preventable risk factors associated with heart disease. The good news is that you begin to experience benefits of quitting almost instantly. Quitting smoking can be difficult so it is important to contact your health care professional to create a plan and access resources that will support your efforts of quitting.

Maintaining a healthy weight as a resolution –

Maintaining a healthy weight is one way to reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Similar to smoking, having excess weight can cause buildups of plaque or other fatty materials leading to the narrowing of arteries. The best ways to maintain a healthy weight is by staying physically active and eating a healthy diet. It is recommended that the average adult get at least 150 minutes of moderate – vigorous physical activity a week. On top of that, eating a variety of healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, proteins and whole grains, and making water the drink of choice is suggested for a well-rounded diet.

Quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy weight are two potential New Year’s resolutions you can make that can help improve your heart health.

If you are looking for local resources for quitting smoking please visit https://www.tbdhu.com/quitsmoking and for more information about weight management check out our website https://northernhearts.org/weight-management/

For all questions related to heart health, please visit: https://northernhearts.org/ or follow Northern Hearts on Facebook and Instagram (@NorthernHeartsThunderBay), where you can become informed with a new posting each Wednesday.

Submitted by Lana Ryder-Methot, Program Coordinator for Northern Hearts