7 Tips To Take Care Of Your Heart Health
Your heart is a muscle that pumps blood throughout your body. The separate sections within the heart send blood to your lungs for oxygen and then distribute that oxygen to keep other organs and tissues alive. A healthy heart is essential for a healthy body.
Unfortunately, heart disease is currently the leading cause of death in America. Every year, cardiovascular problems kill more than 600,000 people in the United States alone. Thankfully, heart disease is usually preventable with lifestyle choices. Here are seven things you can do to take better care of your heart.
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Exercise is good for your heart just like any other muscle. Having an active lifestyle helps your heart stay in shape so it’s better equipped to handle stress and other kinds of exertion. Of course, it’s also important not to overwork this muscle – pushing too hard during exercise can be hard on your heart.
A good rule of thumb is to do aerobic activity for 75-300 minutes a week plus additional strength training. If you work at a desk, exercising is even more important for strengthening your heart. Working out will lower your blood pressure and improve circulation, both of which will positively impact your heart.
Maintain a healthy weight
Research shows that weighing above the average makes your heart work harder. It raises your blood pressure and leads to inflammation all over your body. Interestingly, people who weigh too little are also at risk of having heart problems. The healthiest BMI for most body types is between 20 and 25.
Even losing five pounds can make a difference in the stress your heart is feeling daily. If you need to lose weight, start with regular exercise and plenty of rest to support your body through the transition. If you’re concerned about being underweight, you should see a doctor. Weighing too little is frequently caused by hormonal imbalances.
While you sleep, your heart rate and breathing naturally slow down. This reduces stress on your heart and gives your body a chance to repair and calm itself before another day. If you’re not getting enough sleep or you’re sleeping poorly, your heart won’t have this opportunity to reduce physical stress.
Unfortunately, modern culture promotes hustle and undervalues rest. Without proper rest, you won’t have the energy and focus you need to be productive throughout your day. Getting a good 7-8 hours of sleep a night is essential to improve your heart health and reduce inflammation throughout your body.
Food really is fuel. Unfortunately, many unhealthy foods taste good – sending a deceptive signal to your brain that it’s a good idea to keep eating. However, processed meats, sugar, and grains increase inflammation and raise your body’s risk of developing heart disease.
By choosing to eat clean and nourishing foods, you can protect your heart and reduce inflammation instead. Chemical-free meats, leafy green vegetables, and naturally sweetened fruits all work to nourish your body and strengthen your heart.
A few other examples of heart-healthy foods include peaches, rosemary, garlic, turmeric, salmon, and spinach. Peaches are an especially heart-friendly fruit because their anti-inflammatory properties help lower dangerously high cholesterol levels that can lead to heart disease.
If you’re serious about keeping your heart healthy, you should also reduce your exposure to toxins. Drinking alcohol, using tobacco or snuff, and smoking cigarettes all increase inflammation in your body and damage your heart’s ability to function well. Taking recreational drugs can also permanently damage your heart.
Often, people use toxic substances as a coping mechanism for internal pain. However, these coping mechanisms will only increase stress levels and take years off your life. To protect your heart and your life, reach out for professional help. You can come back from dependence on toxic substances and start investing in a healthy heart now.
High stress levels are also hard on your heart. A 2022 study on Americans found that stress levels are at an unprecedented high. Participants in the study cited finances, global instability, and a lack of emotional support through the pandemic as particularly high stressors. Escaping this stress takes a perspective shift.
Laughing is one simple way to relieve stress over events you can’t control. Laughter improves circulation and increases oxygen levels throughout your body. It lowers your blood pressure and can even reduce symptoms of physical pain. Although laughing alone still has health benefits, laughing with other people is even better.
Start a journal
Although it might seem unrelated, journaling can also help improve heart health. A Cambridge study found that writing out your thoughts just three to five times a week can reduce your blood pressure and systemic stress. This takes pressure off your heart.
Journaling is an inexpensive, easy way to invest in a healthier heart. It’s also a personal practice that doesn’t have to follow a specific structure. If you’re never journaled before, start by setting a 15-minute timer and then just write down what you’re thinking about. The important thing isn’t what you write but that you’re getting your thoughts out of your head and onto paper.
Prioritize your heart
A healthy heart is the foundation for a long and healthy life. As of 2022, hundreds of thousands of Americans are impacted by heart disease each year. Thankfully, there are many lifestyle choices you can make to personally invest in a healthy heart.
Use this list to start prioritizing a healthy heart. Because your heart is a muscle, regular exercise and plenty of rest will strengthen it. You can also reduce external and internal pressures on your heart by eliminating toxins, improving your diet, and managing stress. Your heart works incredibly hard for you – it’s time to give it the care it deserves.
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