How to Improve Your Heart Health
In 2020, heart disease was the leading cause of death in the U.S. MedicalNewsToday reports that heart disease caused nearly 700,000 deaths in a single year. Clearly, cardiovascular disease can have devastating impacts on your well-being. But that doesn’t mean that you should live in dread. There are several things you can do that can have a positive impact. Remember that even small changes can produce big results. Let’s explore how to improve your heart health . . .
Chemicals in tobacco can damage the heart and blood vessels. In addition, contact with cigarette smoke can reduce oxygen in the blood, forcing the heart to work harder. If you don’t smoke, you’re ahead of the game. Do your best to limit your contact with secondhand smoke. If you are a smoker, quit. You’ll begin to reap the rewards of quitting as soon as you do. The risk of developing heart disease related to smoking drops immediately.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Hauling around too many extra pounds can put a strain on your cardiovascular system. The solution is to work to maintain a healthy weight. What is a healthy weight? Your waist circumference can offer some insight. For men, the risk of heart disease rises if their waist circumference measures more than 40 inches. For women, the danger grows when their waist is more than 35 inches.
Make Sleep a Priority
People often shrug off the need for sleep. That’s a mistake. A lack of sleep can raise your risk of a number of serious health conditions, including heart attack, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and depression. The majority of adults, including seniors, need at least seven hours of quality sleep each night. Make a restful night a priority. Establish a solid sleep routine, and seek help if insomnia regularly keeps you awake.
Choose an Active Lifestyle
Being active is a great way to improve your heart health. It also helps you maintain a healthy weight and makes it easier to fall asleep at night. Experts generally encourage people to aim for 30 to 60 minutes of daily activity. While you can certainly count a formal workout as your daily activity, it’s not the only thing that matters. Even small bursts of movement add up. Whether it’s five minutes briskly vacuuming, ten minutes hauling groceries in from the car, or fifteen minutes walking back from town, any activity counts.
Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet
Choosing foods that are good for your heart doesn’t mean eating bland, tasteless fare. It’s true that you’ll want to limit salt, sugar, and saturated fat. You’ll also want to favor fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains. However, chocolate is a heart-healthy treat! Cocoa has antioxidants known to boost heart health, so chocolate can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a heart-healthy diet.
Handle Your Stress
Stress is a killer. It has clear biochemical impacts on the body that can put additional strain on the heart, including faster heartbeats and increased blood pressure. Handling stress effectively is crucial to your health. Avoid falling into unhealthy traps like overeating, drinking alcohol, using drugs, or smoking to manage your stress. Choose healthier approaches. Meditate, exercise, journal, seek out friends, or engage in a hobby. If you need additional help, seek counseling.