Think cardio when you think about cardiovascular health. It’s much more than getting on a treadmill or stationary bike. Our hearts beat over 100,000 times per day. If this were to cease, our lives would be over. But none of us really pay attention until our doctors mention high blood pressure or mention we’re at a higher risk for a heart attack. Why is that? If you want to better your heart health, try the steps below. They’re going to be a fantastic first step.
First and foremost, stop eating anything loaded in sugar, salt or fat. These foods work against your heart, making it work much harder to pump blood to your body. They store as fat within the body if you do not burn it off right away. This fat builds up in the arteries and around the heart, putting stress on the organ that doesn’t have to be there. Rather, eat a high protein diet. Eat fruits, vegetables and lean meats. Most of these foods are low in fat and low in sodium. On the contrary, they’re what’s called superfoods. So if you eat salmon, for instance, you’re getting healthy omega-3 fat that assists in lowering blood pressure and reduces the risk of a heart attack.
Exercise is also important. If you have a gym membership, you have the opportunity to mix up your exercise routine. For instance, you may walk the treadmill and then do weights next time. If your gym has a track or pool, these are other great exercise options. Doing laps in the pool works every muscle in your body. It’s the equivalent of doing the rowing machine in the gym. But don’t keep up with the Joneses with your exercise. Just because your neighbor goes to the gym doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Maybe an exercise class is more your fit, where you work out with a group of people. Walking or running outdoors may also be your style. Or, home exercise (if you are self-motivated) may also be an option. It doesn’t matter how you put the shoe on, just do it.
Likewise, if you lead a stressful life, you must leave it behind. Stress is a leading factor in heart attack and strokes. And it’s easy to see why this is. When we yell and scream, our blood pressure rises. We feel our chest get tight and our heart beats fast; maybe it feels like it’s beating out of our chest. You are more at risk for heart disease or a heart attack in this moment then all the other times you stay calm. It’s vital that you find ways to keep stress under control. Maybe scream into a pillow or go outside for a walk. Get away from everyone and everything to think things over.
You should also stop focusing on the past. All of us have ghosts in our past. We think back to certain times, running scenarios of how we would have acted differently. But, unfortunately, time travel has not been invented yet. We cannot go back and change anything. So why put stress on your heart with excessive worrying? The past is gone; you can’t control or change it. So why are you anchoring yourself in it? Instead, move forward. Focus on the positive. Realize that you are in control of your future choices. Hold your head high and have confidence. Learn to laugh—every day. This is going to reduce your stress. And, maybe take life on a lighter note.
Finally, kick those bad habits to the curb. What destructive habits are putting you at risk for heart disease? Smoking is the leading cause of heart-related deaths, causing 1 in 5 deaths within the United States each year. It not only attacks the heart, but every organ within your body. Smoking too much will cause a condition known as atherosclerosis. This is where plaque builds up around the heart’s arteries. This not only puts you at risk for a heart attack, but at a risk for coronary heart disease. Learn to take care of your heart and this vital organ is going to return the favor. After all, it controls when your flame burns out of the world.