How a cardiothoracic surgeon keeps his heart healthy

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

By: Dr. Alexander Roitstein

As a BayCare Clinic cardiothoracic surgeon, I have seen what happens when people don’t take care of their bodies. I am a firm believer in if you take care of your body, your body will take care of you. There are countless ways to improve your cardiac health and overall well-being. Here are a few that serve me well.


I encourage everyone to stay active. No matter your age or condition, a healthy heart depends on activity to keep it strong. There are multitudes of ways to exercise your heart. Like most people I am more physically active during the warmer months, with cycling, jogging, gardening and hiking in area parks and forests filling much of my free time. Living in Wisconsin though, I’m often limited to what I can do to maintain my fitness when the weather turns cold. Here is great opportunity to get creative. I ride 30-40 miles a week indoors during the winter. It’s not quite the same as riding outside, but it’s easy and convenient for me. I have an indoor bike in my office that I can spin on between patients or during any work breaks. It’s a great way to relieve any residual stress through the day too. What kinds of activities are convenient for you?


Having a great workout facility nearby makes for no excuses not to use it so I lift weights and use other cardio machines 2-3 times a week. I like to keep things flexible too; sometimes for me its best not to get into a routine as I want to keep things fresh to avoid any boredom with my workouts. Whatever you find works best for you – do it!


Staying fit doesn’t necessarily require special equipment. It can be as easy as taking the stairs rather than an elevator, or simply going for a walk around your neighborhood.


I believe eating sensibly is among the easiest ways to stay heart healthy. There are some great area restaurants and I enjoy good food with friends. The key is to be smart about it. Portion control, eating well-prepared, quality food and being cognizant of what is going into my body are all things I consider before each meal. Lastly, I take a daily aspirin and cholesterol-lowing medications to help my heart working well.


If you have further questions, it is a good idea to contact a cardiologist directly. Good luck in your goal to become heart-healthy!


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BayCare Clinic,, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.