17 Ways to Safeguard Your Heart
Make exercise nonnegotiable. Goldberg works out five times a week, alternating between personal-training sessions, Spinning classes, and a little Pilates. “I wouldn’t miss an appointment with a patient, and I don’t cancel my appointment to exercise, either,” she says. “It makes me feel so good afterward, and it keeps my cholesterol and blood pressure under control.”
Take stress seriously. Constant stress can lead to elevated levels of adrenaline and the hormone cortisol, which makes arteries more vulnerable to plaque. “For me, reducing stress is all about saying no and planning alone time,” Goldberg says. To unwind, she watches the Food Network, schedules a manicure, and recently instituted “no e-mail” weekends.
Sack out early. Studies show that people who get less than seven hours of shut-eye a night can have higher blood pressure. Lack of sleep also leads to higher levels of cortisol and even weight gain. “I go to bed around 10:30 each night and wake up most mornings at 6:20,” says Goldberg.