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Today is World Heart Day, and according to the World Health Federation, heart disease and strokes are the world’s leading cause of death, with over 17.1 million deaths annually. This World Heart Day, join us in taking 10 resolutions which will keep your heart healthy and your family happy.

1. Set a routine

Set a time for bed and a time to wake up. Late night owls, by all means stay up late and work away, but do remember to set your waking time so that you get seven hours sleep.

Also remember that the time before you sleep and right after you wake up are crucial to your health, both physical and mental. Keep a little time to yourself to wind down at the end of the day letting your mind relax and focus on the good things coming up the next day. This will ensure that when you wake up, you feel calm, relaxed and ready for a beautiful day. Once you are awake and about, spend a little time meditating or simply getting your mind ready for the busy day ahead.

2. Dust off those shoes

Remember those walking shoes you got on New Year’s? Get those out and walk out the front door bright and early in the morning for a peaceful walk in the park. It is a great way to start your day not to mention the health benefits. When seen as time for yourself rather than huff-puff exercise, walking or jogging seems far less daunting. Give yourself an hour daily for any light to medium exercise of your choice in your new routine.

3. Time your meals

You cannot still be eating what you want when you want. Having meals at a pre-set time gives your body enough time to digest and utilise energy to keep you going strong throughout the day. Having improper meals at errant timings have side-effects which include weight-gain, light headedness, migraines and of course, heart disease.

4. Watch what you eat

To understand your choices, and make the right ones, can prove hard. But making a conscious effort will ensure that you sail through after the initial difficulty. Your breakfast should be one that fills you with good carbs and proteins. Lunch is a chance for you to have a fresh low calorie salad with chicken or fish. Keep dinner small and light. Interim eating will also not hurt you once you choose to make or bake your own small fruit salads, smoothies or vegetable snacks with healthy dips. Check nutrition and ingredient tables of packed foods before you buy them.

5. A toast to your good health

Toast your good health with at least eight glasses of water daily. Other than water, green tea is a great beverage that is light and has proven to increase your metabolism in a healthy manner. You could try the flavoured green teas available in the market if you are averse to the original taste.

6. Switch off the TV

Reports show that people eat 50 per cent more than they normally would when they eat in front of the TV or nowadays, the computer. Ensure that you have your meals on the dining table giving you more control over what you eat and how much you eat. Not to mention quality time with your family.

7. Get cooking

Cooking your own food and knowing what goes in there is a great way to control what goes in to your body. You would not pour half your mayonnaise jar on your sandwich when you cook. Make your own salad dressings and snack dips using less oil or healthy oils like olive oil.

8. Take weekly vacations

You read that right and these vacations do not necessarily entail a packed suitcase or a flight. Pamper yourself with great home-cooked food, a good book or a walk on the beach. Get together at a friend’s place or call them over for a day without electronic devices beeping around you. Make this a lifestyle choice.

9. Share it to keep it

It’s not easy to keep a new routine, and failing can affect you psychologically. This is a lifestyle change and not a magic trick; it is perfectly all right to stumble along the way. Share your new plan with your family and friends as accountability can go a long way in forcing us back on track. Once you are on track, you will not look back.

10. Laugh, love and live long

Being happy and tension free is the most important step towards a healthy life. Do not stress about mundane things. Analyse each stressful situation and how it may affect your life in a calm manner. If it is something no one in the world can solve or if it means the end of the world as you know it, go on and stress about it, but don’t if not.

Make happiness a choice and not a situation.