5 Steps to a Healthier HeartConditions & Diagnosis, Exercise & Fitness, Nutrition | August 20, 2015
Our heart is the hardest-working muscle in our body. Because heart disease is a leading cause of death, it’s important to adopt a healthy lifestyle sooner rather than later. Some risk factors can’t be changed, like family history, age and sex, but there are still some key things you can do to improve your overall heart health.
Easy Heart Health Tips
If you’re worried you’re at risk for heart disease, first make an appointment to visit your doctor. Knowing what your “good” cholesterol (HDL) and “bad” cholesterol (LDL) levels, as well as your blood pressure, weight, and body mass index (BMI) is the first step to plan for improving your heart function. Make a follow up appointment for a year later so you can see how much you’ve changed- hopefully for the better!
Improve your heart health with these 5 steps:
- Live healthier. Eating a heart healthy diet and getting regular exercise are key to a stronger heart. Studies have shown that women who eat lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains and lean proteins, as well as maintain a healthy weight have a 92% decreased risk of a heart attack compared to less healthy women. Getting your heart rate up for 30 minutes every day by walking, biking, swimming, etc. along with eating right will improve your heart, even if you start in small steps.
- Quit those bad habits. If you smoke, it’s time to quit! Smoking tobacco puts you far more at risk of developing heart disease. Talk to your doctor about how best to go about kicking this bad habit once and for all.
- Unwind a little. Learn how to relax and unwind for a while every day. If this means turning off the TV or electronic devices, so be it. When we get stressed out, our bodies increase adrenaline and this can overwork our hearts. De-stress by talking to a good friend, exercising, doing yoga, or just sitting quietly looking out the window.
- Get some Z’s. Getting plenty of sleep is good for your heart. Sleep allows our bodies to shut down and recover, which is good for all aspects of our health. AS we sleep, our blood pressure and heart rate go down, giving your heart a break. Research shows that people who don’t get enough sleep are more than twice as likely as those getting a good night’s sleep to die of heart disease.
- Stay social. For better heart health, exercise with a friend! Having a good social support system not only helps you stay motivated to continue with your workout regimen, but also can lower your risk of heart disease. Studies have shown that people who stay socially active have significantly lower blood pressure and other factors for heart disease than those who are isolated from others.
Adopt a healthier lifestyle today to avoid heart problems in the future!
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