Making lifestyle changes

Small lifestyle changes can make a big difference

You can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke by leading a healthy lifestyle. Each of the following will help lower your risk.

  • Quit smoking and avoid second-hand smoke.
  • Do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day.
  • Avoid adding salt to foods. Choose 'no added salt', 'low salt' or 'salt reduced' foods where possible.
  • Eat a variety of foods including vegetables, foods containing wholegrains, lean meats, oily fish, fruit, low fat dairy, vegetable/seed oils, nuts, seeds and legumes.
  • Instead of butter, choose low fat spreads made from canola, sunflower or olive oil and dairy blends.
  • Take your prescribed medicines as directed by your doctor.

Set realistic goals

Setting goals will help you decide what you want to change and how you are going to get there.

It can be tempting to make drastic changes to your lifestyle straight away, but setting realistic goals and gradually making a series of small changes can make a bigger difference in the long term, because you're more likely to stick with them.

Remember, it's normal to have days when you slip-up or to have days when it all becomes too hard; don't let these days stop you altogether. Just keep going with your changes the next day.

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Managing my heart health at a glance card

Download or order a Managing my heart health at a glance card to help you record your progress over a 1-year period. It can help you maintain motivation and gain a sense of achievement.