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Patient Education: Diseases Conditions Treatments & Procedures

Heart Health

Self-help tips

According to the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario, 5.6 per cent of Canadians over the age of 20 are living with heart disease. Growing awareness of lifestyle changes can help you maintain your health. Here are some tips to help keep your heart healthy:

Daily exercise

  • Regular exercise strengthens the heart muscle, decreases blood pressure, improves circulation, reduces stress, and nourishes your muscles and your brain.
  • Always consult with a health professional and be aware of your physical health before beginning an exercise program.
  • Exercise your larger muscle groups (such as your legs, back, shoulders) over a longer period of time to steadily increase your heart rate.
  • Choose a regular activity that fits easily into your daily routine.
  • Walking outdoors doesn’t require equipment. Start walking slowly and then gradually build your pace for 30-60 minutes. Work hard, but don’t overdo it - it’s not a race!
  • Slow down for the last five minutes of any exercise. Suddenly stopping vigorous activity can be dangerous.
  • Stretch your muscles to prevent muscle spasms.

Proper nutrition

  • Maintain a well-balanced diet with the recommended servings from each of the four food groups.
  • Check your food’s nutrition label to help you make informed choices.
  • Visit Health Canada’s website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca for more information about Canada’s Food Guide. Other reliable websites about nutrition include: