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Expert: Danielle Barry-Hickey
Role at UHN: Cardiac Rehab Supervisor in Toronto Rehab's Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program
What is the number one piece of advice you give to your patients to empower them to improve their heart health?
The number one piece of advice that I give my patients to improve their heart health is to incorporate regular exercise three to five times weekly; make changes to their diet that include heart healthy options such as fruits, vegetables and healthy fats; and most importantly, to make sure that they enjoy life to its fullest – each day is a gift.
Life can get in the way at times, especially when we are trying to change habits. Set small goals instead of long term goals for yourself to achieve the changes to improve your overall heart health. For example, make realistic weekly goals such as: I am going to walk three times this week or I am going to eat one piece of fruit each day. These realistic goals help you increase your self-confidence and awareness in setting goals for the next week.
What is the one thing that you do to maintain your heart health?
The most important thing I do to maintain my heart health is follow my own advice. I ask my patients to exercise three to five days a week and eat a heart healthy diet. I try to ensure I do the same.
I like to change up the types of activity I do to make life more exciting. I enjoy running, resistance training and yoga. My Old English Sheepdog, Finnigan, also makes sure I walk at least three hours a day.
Read advice from our other experts in our Heart Month spotlight series