February is AMERICAN HEART MONTH which is the perfect time to stop and think about ones' own heart health. Whether you're feeling fit, have been diagnosed with heart disease, or, you're a heart attack survivor, there is much that can be done to make sure you're as healthy as possible.

Two words that often come up when discussing good health, are diet and exercise. These are essential components to anyone's fitness and of the utmost importance if you or someone you love is working their way back to health from a heart incident.

Here are 7 Diet and Excercise Tips for Getting and Staying Heart-Healthy.

1) WALKING: Finding heart-healthy exercise that will be something you will enjoy and therefore stick with, is key. One simple exercise that almost everyone can take part in on some level is WALKING. This can be a short walk around the block, taking the dog for a stroll in the park, or racking up steps on a treadmill. Walking can be done at the pace you're comfortable with and certainly, like any cardio exercise, you can work up to your goals, one step at a time. Slowly increase distance and speed as you can. Consistency is key.

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2) SWIMMING: Now, don't imagine racing against Michael Phelps right off the bat if you've been out of shape for a while. Work up to it. But, doctors routinely recommend swimming, water walking, water aerobics, etc. as being very good choices for someone needing to do cardio in a very low-impact environment. The water resistance is so good for anyone with back, knee, and flexibility issues. Again, work your way up to higher levels of difficulty and endurance. Have fun with it year-round.

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3) Yoga: Yoga is not something I've personally tried, but I'm planning to add it to my fitness plans. So many benefits of Yoga to take advantage of - low impact, stretching, flexibility, lowering blood pressure, cardio, breathing, relaxation, strength, and endurance. There are plenty of options for everyone from beginners to the more advanced.

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4) CYCLING: Whether you're peddling along with a virtual instructor in your living room or out on the roads or mountains getting fresh air, cycling is one of the most widely recommended cardio-healthy activities. Aerobic and anaerobic benefits depending upon what your activity level calls for. Interval training can be both challenging and interesting. Again, with this exercise, you can go at your own pace and work your way up to your goal.

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5) MEAL PREP SERVICE: If you're like many people who find themselves busy, tired, and susceptible to making poor food choices because you don't have a plan, join the club. Now, resign from that club, and join one of the many handy and healthy Meal Prep Services out there. I've tried just about all of the most popular services out there and have really enjoyed them all. Frankly, a couple of them helped me to become a better cook with easy-to-follow recipes. Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, and the like, are all pretty good in my (unpaid endorsement) view. Of late, my wife and I have used financial guru Dave Ramsay's 'emeals'. The slogan is 'We Plan, They Deliver, You Cook'. It's been great, someone else has planned out the delicious meals, the store delivers it to our door and we cook. Most recipes seem to be nutritious as well as delicious.

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6) DON'T GO FOR THE RADIAL DIET FADS: The weight loss industry is a multi-billion-dollar gold mine and unless you're out there selling a book, a diet pill, or a website with models who say they lost 147 pounds in 3 months just by repeating a mantra, you need to avoid the temptation to fall for schemes. Work with your doctor and your common sense to find a healthy, steady, and manageable plan to reach your weight and overall health goals.

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7) PERSONAL TRAINER: Sometimes it helps to have someone to be accountable to who has your best interest and health in mind. A personal trainer can help you design a fitness plan for your needs, taking into account your specific health situation and your goals. Often, their expertise will not only help you get the most out of a workout but also help you avoid injuries. This, coupled with nutritional support, can truly be what your doctor orders.

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