This post is sponsored by LIVALO® (pitavastatin) and Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, and should not be construed to constitute medical advice. Personal opinions and thoughts are our own. We are not medical professionals and are not qualified to give medical advice. Please talk with your doctor about your individual medical situation.
The holidays are a magical time of year, a time when family and friends gather together. We celebrate with long-held traditions and make memories to treasure all year long. But the holidays are also a time of stress, over-indulging, and a time when we let good habits fall away.
Many holiday traditions center around parties with plenty of cocktails, sweet treats, and rich foods. On top of that, we have busier schedules and a tendency to neglect exercise. The results can negatively affect our health. But with some effort it doesn’t have to be this way. We’ve put together a guide we plan to use to avoid these traps and create heart-healthy habits.
5 Heart-Healthy Habits
1. Be Active with Family and Friends.
These days it’s very common to head to the couch to watch tv or play video games. Instead, try to keep active. To reduce cholesterol levels and maintain a healthy heart, American Heart Association recommends 40 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity exercise three to four times a week. Brainstorm fun activities based on shared interests and passions. Now’s your chance to pull together, get busy and have some fun.
Here are some seasonal, family-fun ideas to keep you active and off the couch!
- Have a snowball fight.
- Go sledding, skiing or snowboarding.
- Get out in nature. Try bird watching or go hiking.
- Film your own movie.
- Create a scavenger hunt.
- Make holiday gifts and deliver them to neighbors.
- Walk around the neighborhood to admire the holiday decorations.
- Go caroling around your neighborhood.
- Volunteer at a foodbank.
2. Skip Dessert for a New Heart-Healthy Habit
Our doctor always says that a huge part of keeping cholesterol in check is maintaining a heart-healthy diet. One way we do this is by skipping the dessert table. It may not be “fun” but it is a solid step in the right direction.
We’ve found when we get used to skipping dessert, our taste buds eventually adjust, and we stop craving sweets. This is the best part. Fred and I have both done this. We no longer crave sweets. Now nuts taste sweet to us.
If you are used to something sweet at the end of your meal, maybe substitute fruit instead.
3. Limit Liquid Calories
This includes soda and alcohol, since they are loaded with sugar and/or fat, and have very few essential vitamins and minerals. I’ve learned that the excess sugar and empty calories can be harmful to a heart-healthy balanced diet and overall maintenance of good health.
Limiting both is a great habit. Eliminating both is an even better goal.
I haven’t drank soda in 10 years, and I don’t miss it at all. Fred and I have completely eliminated alcohol over two years ago, and we feel great. We feel younger and healthier.
4. Control Stress Levels
It’s easy for life to get stressful during the holidays. Our to-do lists can become overwhelming. Life gets out of balance, and before we know it, we are losing sleep and losing our temper.
Here are a few survival tips:
- Try not to overschedule during the holidays. Learn to say no, and you and your family will be happier in the end.
- Get plenty of sleep. We all need 6-8 hours.
- Maintain regular exercise.
- Practice yoga or meditation.
- Even a few minutes of deep breathing can bring your heartrate down and help during stressful times.
5. Educate Yourself About Heart Health
As we head into the holidays, we also plan to educate ourselves about our heart health, so it’s one less thing to worry about during the busy season! Here’s some advice we’ve gotten from our doctor:
- Get your cholesterol checked.
- Understand your levels.
- Make sure you stay on your statin if you need one.
- Or check with your doctor to ask for a new statin if you need it!
LIVALO® (pitavastatin) is an option we recently learned about that can be more tolerable for those taking multiple medications for other conditions because it is less likely to interact with other medications. If you’re interested in talking to your doctor about whether LIVALO may be right for you, you can access a discussion guide here:
- Education is key to health.
- Do what we are doing and learn all you can, and be smart with your health.
Create Heart-Healthy Habits and Make New Family Traditions
It’s wonderful to think that the holidays can be a time when we strengthen our families’ heart healthy habits instead of weakening them!
What a great idea. Traditions are important. But there is nothing more important than living long, healthy lives.
Let’s give each other the gift of health and wellness this year and every year.
- You have a known allergy to LIVALO or any of its ingredients.
- You have active liver problems, including some abnormal liver test results.
- You are nursing, pregnant or may become pregnant, as it may harm the baby.
- You are currently taking cyclosporine or gemfibrozil.
- Call your healthcare provider or get help right away if you experience any symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as rash, itching, or hives.
- Muscle problems may be an early sign of rare, serious conditions. Tell your doctor right away if you have any unexplained muscle pain, weakness, or tenderness, particularly if accompanied by malaise or fever, or if these muscle signs or symptoms persist after discontinuing LIVALO.
- Serious liver problems have been reported rarely in patients taking statins, including LIVALO. Your doctor should do liver tests before you start, and if you have symptoms of liver problems while you are taking LIVALO. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you feel more tired than usual, have a loss of appetite, upper belly pain, dark-colored urine, or yellowing of the skin or eyes.
- Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medications you take including nonprescription medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements.
- Increases in blood sugar levels have been reported with statins, including LIVALO.
- Tell your doctor about your alcohol use.
- Tell your healthcare provider of a known or suspected pregnancy.
What are the most common side effects of LIVALO?
The most common side effects of LIVALO in clinical studies were:
- Back pain
- Muscle pain
- Pain in the legs or arms
This is not a complete list of side effects. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA.
Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
How should I store and take LIVALO?
- Store LIVALO tablets at room temperature, in a dry place, protected from light, and keep out of the reach of children.
- Take LIVALO orally once daily with or without food at the same time each day.
- Swallow the tablet whole. Do not split, crush, dissolve, or chew.
- The maximum recommended dosage is LIVALO 4 mg once daily.
- If you take too much LIVALO or you or someone else takes an overdose, call your doctor and/or local Poison Control Center.
Other important information I should know about LIVALO.
- LIVALO is available by prescription only.
© Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc. (2021) -LIV-RA-0142 PI of 09/2020