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7 Simple Steps to a Longer, Healthier Life

As Heart Month gets underway, we've got a few suggestions for getting and keeping in good shape

People share a salad lunch

Alexandra Iakovleva/Getty Images

Making healthy choices can reduce the burden on your heart, lungs, blood vessels and bones.

Taking care of yourself can lead to a longer, healthier life. There are seven simple steps that research has shown can make a difference. Each involves making good choices and requires some discipline, but all are doable.

Dubbed “Life’s Simple 7” by the American Heart Association, they involve:

  • Eating better, which can stave off chronic disease. Steps include increasing your intake of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight. This can reduce the burden on your heart, lungs, blood vessels and bones.
  • Exercising. It can help with your cholesterol levels, weight and muscle tone.
  • Quitting cigarettes, because even one can hurt you. There is no risk-free level of exposure to tobacco smoke. 
  • Managing blood pressure. Unhealthy ranges strain the heart, arteries and kidneys.
  • Controlling cholesterol. Low cholesterol gives your arteries the best chance to stay clear of fatty blockages that reduce blood flow.
  • Reducing blood sugar. This can lower the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

-- Brought to you by AARP and the American Heart Association.