When it comes to experiencing a long and healthy life, there’s nothing quite as important as cardiac health. Your heart works hard 24 hours a day, seven days a week pumping blood and oxygen throughout your body. So when you aren’t practicing healthy heart habits, your heart is working twice as hard to do the same job. Here are five of our favorite heart health tips to keep you living longer and happier, and to give your heart a little rest.
Give up Smoking
If you smoke cigarettes, it’s time to quit for your heart. It tops the list on our tips for a healthy heart as smoking has been linked to many health problems including heart disease and many cancers. Cigarettes can increase both your blood pressure and your risk of getting blood clots. If you live with or spend time with a smoker, but do not smoke, it’s also important to avoid secondhand smoke.
Know Your Risk
Get your blood pressure and cholesterol tested regularly. If your doctor diagnoses you with either high blood pressure or high cholesterol, it’s important to heed his or her treatment and advice and to monitor any changes going forward.
Getting active can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, 5 days a week. Record to how much time you spend seated at work, at home, or on your daily commute and see if there’s any room for improvement.
Manage your Weight
Extra body weight puts strain on the heart to pump blood carrying oxygen to other parts of your body, including the brain. By maintaining a healthy weight, getting an adequate amount of exercise, you can take any unnecessary pressure off your heart.
Catch Your Zs
This may not be as well-known for heart health as other habits, but sleep is an integral part of heart health. Lack of sleep causes disruptions to natural processes and can also lead to overeating. In one study, researchers found that the type of sleep is important as well. Adults who reported getting good-quality sleep also showed signs of healthier arteries.
Fill Up on the Good Stuff
Your diet has more to do with health heart than you think. Foods high in fat, salt, and sugar can cause blockages in your arteries. Eating a balanced diet filled with fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean proteins will help lower your cholesterol and keep your heart healthy. Ditch sugary drinks like juice and soda and foods that are high in saturated fat, which can raise the level of cholesterol in your blood.
Stress can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle, which puts additional strain on your heart. Try techniques for relaxing and de-stressing, such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing, or other relaxing leisure activities, like reading or spending time in nature can help reduce your stress level.
These simple tips and lifestyle changes can mean the difference between a long and healthy life and cardiac complications. Show your heart just how much you care by changing to healthier habits today!