Unless we are scared, stressed, or very active, we probably forget about all the work the muscles in our hearts do 24/7. I mean, when your heart is pounding, it’s hard to ignore it. But when you are just sitting at your desk or relaxing, it keeps working, unnoticed. It seems like we only notice it and begin to think about it when something goes wrong. Cardiac disease, heart attacks, and other problems can scare us into taking action, and rightfully so. But what if we stopped ignoring the heart and started taking action before we run into problems. There are many simple and easy ways to improve heart health that won’t take huge lifestyle changes. Go ahead and give them a try. Your heart with thank you.
Of course, exercising has to be on the list. Exercise, in general, helps us stay healthier. But we aren’t saying you have to be a gym rat. Before you run away from the word exercise, just hear us out.
Even a short 10 minute walk a day, at lunchtime, before work, or whenever, can help improve your heart health.
If you're not ready for the gym, just take a few minutes each day to lift a heavy book in each hand.
No matter how you do it, any movement is good. Sitting too long is not good for our health. You can get a fitness tracker that alerts you to when you have been sitting too long or you can take up a fun activity that keeps you active: dance, music, jogging, or anything else you enjoy where you are on your feet and moving. Try to reach about 30 minutes of movement/exercise a day. That’s all it takes.
Diet is another way to improve your heart health. Don’t be scared, these simple tips will not turn your world upside down. Just a few simple tweaks and you can pretty much keep what you love.
Yup, you knew it was coming. But it’s true. Eating healthier food will make you healthier. We aren’t saying you have to be vegetarian or vegan but adding one extra fruit or vegetable a day can be a great start.
It can be pretty easy to find sugary and fatty treats for breakfast but try to find something with whole grains and protein to keep your heart healthy.
Drinking, and we don’t mean just alcohol, is one of the quickest ways to add calories to your diet. There are hidden sugars and calories in all kinds of drinks that can add up quickly.
Not all fat is created equal. It’s good to try to keep saturated fats to a minimum but increase healthy fats found in olive oil, nuts, and seafood.
Finally, the answer you have been waiting for: more chocolate! Yes, it's true. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate without a lot of added sugars can improve your heart health.
Just like with sugar, too much salt is a bad thing. And the difficult thing about salt is that it can be hidden in many foods. When you buy or order food, take a look at the labels or ask for nutritional information. You might be surprised to see how much salt is in everything.
After all this hard work of making small changes to your lifestyle, it's time to take some time to relax. Not only do you deserve to reward yourself, but it will also help improve your heart health.
Learning to take a few minutes to breathe slowly and deeply can help lower your blood pressure.
Optimism actually helps your heart. If you take time to think about the positive aspects of your life and everything you have accomplished, your stress and negativity will decrease, improving health.
Music can be a great way to have fun and decrease your blood pressure, as long as it’s calming. So instead of uptempo rock or pop, try to add a little chill vibe to your day.
Every person has a different magic number. For some people it's 6 or 7, for others it's 8 or 9. Whatever your natural sleep cycle is, try to follow it and get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can be hard on your heart.
Many people take a smoke break to relax during a stressful period. While it’s great to relax, we don’t have to tell you how dangerous smoking is. If you are looking for an alternative, there are many e-cigarettes that are healthier than the original. But be careful of those as well. They could have nicotine and other additives that are not healthy. There’s also the choice of just not smoking at all, but we know that can be hard.
No matter what, try to take time each day to do what you love. Simple advice to help you and your entire life.
There you have it. A few simple changes and you are on your way to improving your heart health.