Keeping your heart healthy is essential for a long, active life. Here are some tips to help protect your heart:
1. Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity helps keep your heart strong and can reduce your risk of heart disease. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. Also, include strength training two times per week to strengthen muscles and bones.
2. Eat a balanced diet: Eating a balanced diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean proteins can help reduce cholesterol levels and keep your blood pressure in check. Avoiding processed foods that contain saturated fats is also important.
3. Quit smoking: Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your heart health as it increases your risk of developing numerous cardiovascular diseases such as coronary artery disease and stroke. Quitting smoking – even if you’ve been at it for years – can help improve your overall health and reduce the risk of developing certain diseases by up to 50%.
4. Manage stress: Stress causes our bodies to produce hormones that put extra strain on our hearts and other organs, so managing stress through relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation can help lower blood pressure, slow down our breathing rate, improve sleep quality and reduce anxiety levels which all benefit our overall wellbeing including our hearts.
5. Limit alcohol consumption: One or two drinks per day may be beneficial to some people, but frequent excessive consumption can increase blood pressure levels and contribute to congestive heart failure over time so limit yourself or don't drink at all depending on your circumstances or health history.
6. Focus on those Z's: getting enough sleep each night is essential for preventing inflammation and allowing the body time to repair itself.
Keeping these simple tips in mind will help you maintain a healthier heart now and into the future! Check out self-care ideas for every day of the week recommended by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.