SIOUX CITY (KTIV) -- New Years' is right around the corner and many people are making resolutions for a healthier 2021. But, one thing health professionals say you should be focused on is your heart health, especially amid the pandemic.
"Whether it is the pandemic or social isolation, we have all been under very considerable stress and we've also gotten into some bad habits," said Dr. Mahmoud Sharaf, UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Cardiology Services and Cardiovascular Associates Cardiologist.
Habits like lack of exercise, lack of social engagement or overeating, leading to future problems for your heart health.
"And it can be as low as seven minutes of exercise a day is enough to create a positive effect in terms of people's cardiovascular health," said Dr. Sharaf.
Positive changes like reducing the risk of strokes, heart attacks, and improvement in cholesterol and blood pressure.
"Cardiovascular disease is either the leading or one of the leading causes of death in the country and there is a huge burden of disease when you think of stroke or heart attack and these are lifelong diseases," said Dr. Sharaf. "It's not something that simply happens once and then leaves you. It creates changes that really have to be followed up for the rest of your life."
If you've had some kind of cardiovascular event like a heart attack or a stint, Dr. Sharaf said cardiac rehab can create better outcomes.
"When you do cardiac rehab for 12 weeks afterward you improve not only your mortality, you improve your well-being, your psychological sense of how you are doing, there is less depression there is an improvement in blood pressure, there's the improvement of cholesterol," said Dr. Sharaf.
Dr. Sharaf said nurses will give you an assessment to help with goals and nutritional counseling. Giving you an exact program for how you should be doing exercise. But, his biggest piece of advice heading into 2021...
"Trying your best to try and keep active and keep healthy despite the very significant limitations we have," said Dr. Sharaf. "And it's not easy but I think every person has to do it."
Dr. Sharaf said prevention is much better than trying to treat after the fact.
They recommend people exercise every other day, moderate intensity for 30 minutes at a time.