5 Tips for Keeping a Healthy Heart
It’s clear that healthy eating, clean living, and increased exercise make a huge difference in the fight against heart disease. But while people may be winning the small battles, heart disease is still winning the war.
Deaths due to heart disease have dipped in the last few years, but it’s still the number one killer of Americans. The good news is that preventative measures start right in the cabinets, cupboards, and refrigerator in your home.
Here are a few fundamental lifestyle changes that can help to prevent heart disease, maintain cardiovascular health, and have a big impact in the long run.
A good rule of thumb for exercise: if you’re doing nothing, do something; and if you’re doing something, do a little bit more.
A sedentary lifestyle will result in early mortality. The important thing to keep in mind is that “active” doesn’t always have to involve going to a gym or lifting weights. Active refers to elevating the heart rate. Get up and get moving every hour. Taking a quick walk around the block, around the park, or even the mall is a great way to stay active.
Just the mere act of walking is beneficial to heart health.
Sleep Is Essential
A recent study by The American Heart Association discovered how poor sleep negatively impacts the heart.
Researchers found that participants with irregular sleep patterns displayed the same inflammation biomarkers frequently seen in cardiovascular disease and stroke. The study also showed that people who have trouble falling asleep are at a 45% higher risk of suffering a heart attack.
To get the best night’s sleep, be sure to stick to a routine. Aim to go to bed and get up at the same every day, even on weekends. Take time to unwind by shutting off the TV and all other technology at least an hour before hitting the hay, and remember that the bed is for sleeping only.
If you’re having trouble getting enough sleep because of stress, consider meditation as a means to reduce the daily stressors or consider trying some natural sleep remedies.
Go Moderate On the Vices
While some research shows that a moderate amount of red wine might be good for the heart, too much alcohol contributes to health problems such as high blood pressure and obesity. Moderation is the key. Talk with your primary care physician for more advice.
Smoking is also ill-advised. Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing several chronic disorders including fatty buildups in arteries, numerous types of cancer and heart and lung problems.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
No one wants to hear the word diet, especially at an age when a person is supposed to be enjoying all that life has to offer. However, there is a weight loss method that allows people to eat more food and still lose weight. Instead of concentrating on limiting all foods that are bad, try eating more foods that are good for you.
Research continues to prove that a vegetarian diet is key to a longer, healthier life. Other eating plans that receive high marks from dietitians and physicians are the Mediterranean Diet and Dash Diet. Both eating regimes are linked to lower rates of heart disease. As a general rule, aim for five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
Don’t Mistake Signs For ‘Getting Older’
There are likely lingering issues that you’re chalking up to “getting older,” but those could be warning signs of a bigger health issue on the horizon. Never ignore possible signs of trouble, including things like: chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, dizziness, leg swelling, unexplained fatigue and/or brief moments of confusion.
One way to prevent the lingering issues from becoming long-term problems is to schedule doctor visits even when healthy. Regular check-ups with your doctor are essential, and it is crucial to catch up with your general practitioner every six months.
Remember: heart disease is preventable in many cases. By making healthy lifestyle choices and taking preventative measures into your own hands, you’ll be well on your way to a healthier ticker.
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