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3 Unorthodox Resolutions for a Heart Healthy New Year

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By: Karen Yontz Center Staff

Welcome to the New Year! It’s time for new beginnings and fresh starts. What better way to start than by resolving to improve your heart health? Everyone around you is probably making resolutions to exercise and eat healthier, and while these are good resolutions to make (and better still, to keep), why not think outside of the box? Try adding one of our surprising resolutions to your list for a place to start to get yourself (or keep yourself) on the path to good heart health.

I resolve to learn my family’s heart history—Talking about health with your parents and other family members can be a touchy subject and one that’s fraught with emotion. But it’s also a conversation that benefits everyone involved. The more honest mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters are with each other, the more complete of a picture they can draw for their health care providers when it comes to creating a plan to treat you and prevent heart disease. And the more those families know about their members’ health concerns and issues, the more supportive they can be toward one another.

I resolve to find more joy in my life—It’s said that laughter is the best medicine and that’s true when it comes to your heart too. A study by the Maryland School of Medicine, found that laughter causes the tissue that lines the inside of blood vessels to expand in order to increase blood flow. Laughing helps this tissue, which regulates blood flow, adjusts blood thickening, and is affected by atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), to stay healthy. Finding joy in life usually means inviting more opportunities for laughter as well. It also helps to build resilience and the ability to laugh during times in your life that are difficult.

I resolve to plan an amazing vacation, even if I don’t ever take it—The last Tuesday in January is National Plan for Vacation Day and it is definitely a holiday you want to celebrate. The majority of Americans who get vacation time don’t use all of it, even though the Framingham Heart Study showed that women who take at least two vacations a year are eight times less likely to have coronary heart disease. If you’re worried that you don’t have the time (or, let’s face it, the cash) to take that amazing vacation, it still makes sense to plan it, down to the very last detail. The process of planning a trip can improve your mental state in many areas. And the longer a person spends planning a trip, studies have found, the happier they are across all aspects of their life from work to finances to relationships.

For all of your heart health questions and to keep yourself on a heart-healthy path all year long, visit The Karen Yontz Center Monday-Friday from 8:00AM-4:30PM.

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