1. Exercise

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. Most doctors will encourage you to exercise at least 30 minutes every day. By no means does this have to include a gym membership. Go outdoors and walk or run. Go for a bike ride, go fishing or go swimming.

It also helps if you exercise at the same time each day. Maybe you exercise best in the morning. You roll out of bed and hit the treadmill. This method of exercising really gets people off and running for the day. Or, maybe you exercise best in the afternoon. You work 9-5 and workout before you pick the kids up from daycare. Find a time that works best for you and stick to it.

Finally, and probably most important, log your activity. On Tuesday you walked the treadmill for 30 minutes and burned 52 calories. What was your speed and incline? Document your heart rate and whatever information is available. Having this documentation is going to help you in your workout. Once you keep it long enough, it helps you create a balanced routine. Exercise is fun and it can be worth it. It’s going to be hard work, but you can do it!

  1. Diet

Avoid 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.

Salmon, tuna and walnuts all have one ingredient in common: omega-3 fatty acids. This is a powerhouse food that’s going to help your whole body. It helps prevent arthritis, for instance, relieving stiffness from your joints. It also helps to relieve any pain that surrounds the joints. Omega-3, too, has an enormous boost for mental health. It’s been suggested that those with Alzheimer’s may have a boost in their gradual memory loss, while it may help ADHD sufferers think more clearly. It’s possible, as well, that this could lighten some depressive symptoms of bi-polar disorder.

Strawberries are another food that’s healthy for the heart. This food helps you to lower your blood pressure and reduce stress. Likewise, strawberries help reduce your risk of a heart attack. It’s also a cancer-fighting food. This particular berry has much more vitamin C than oranges, due to its seeds being located on the outside. Apples, another heart-healthy food, is 85 percent water, which means it’s going to hydrate you and boost your immune system. Likewise, it’s a fruit that’s low in cholesterol. Apples are packed with fiber and vitamin C as well, making this a healthy snack for any time of day.

Dark chocolate is another great food to eat for the heart. It’s loaded with antioxidants and has the potential to reduce your blood pressure. These antioxidants help to fight heart disease. Similarly, dark chocolate has been proven to sharpen cognitive abilities. Finally, garlic has shown to improve heart health. It has few calories but is a powerhouse for manganese and vitamin B6. It also has a great deal of calcium and potassium. This is a superfood that can boost the immune system. It reduces your chances of contracting the flu or cold. Likewise, adding garlic to your daily meal prep has the potential to reduce your blood pressure. Over time this is going to reduce your chances of a stroke or heart attack.

  1. Stress Relief

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. 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. Digestive issues, weight gain and sleep issues can also be sign of excessive stress. Learn to take care of your heart and this vital organ is going to return the favor.

  1. Know the risk factors of heart disease

Heart health is important at any age. Heart disease is a term associated with those that are middle-aged or older; rarely is it ever associated with a young person. Many of the risk factors of heart disease are contributors due to an illness or bad habit.

Smoking is also a high-risk factor of heart disease. More than two million people die each year in the United States due to heart disease deaths impacted by smoking. When you’re a smoker, fat builds up quicker around the heart’s arteries which makes it more likely for a heart attack. It also effects every organ within the body. It also makes you more likely to experience blood clots. This is because the nicotine in cigarettes makes your blood sticky. It makes it more of a challenge to move throughout the blood vessels.

Finally, an individual is more at risk if heart disease is in their family. There are two ways this could happen. You could have a history of early heart disease throughout your family line, anything from heart attacks or coronary heart disease. Or, you could have a history or preeclampsia during pregnancy. This is where the mother-to-be’s blood pressure spikes prior to delivering her baby. Both are risk factors for heart disease and make your risk of encountering it much higher.

Story Credit: EditorUMT@gmail.com

Photo Credit: Jamie Street/Upsplash.com


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