Worried about succumbing to heart disease? While there are factors you can’t change like medical and family history, there is plenty you can do to help your heart stay healthy. Start with these 7 habits of heart healthy people!
30 Minutes Of Exercise A Day
A healthy heart demands exercise – and a good balance of both cardiovascular exercise and strength training. Cardiovascular exercise like running, doing 30 minutes on an elliptical, or swimming increases blood flow and volume to the heart. This increased blood flow during exercise helps you heart become more efficient so that when you’re at a resting heart rate, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard.
Strength training strengthens not only your biceps and calf muscles but also your heart. Both of these types of exercises combined both increase the number of blood vessels in your body and the size of those blood vessels so your heart can get more blood out to your body faster.
Eat those fruits and veggies
Sure, heart healthy people partake in the occasional burger or pizza slice, but overall, a healthy heart comes from smart eating.
Focus on eating good fats, the unsaturated kinds, and try to limit eating trans and saturated fats. Focus more on plant-based foods. Meat is delicious, of course, but it should be limited. Fruits and veggies should make up a huge portion of your diet.
Also try to limit refined sugar you eat. The key here is moderation – the occasional slice of cheesecake or bowl of ice cream is completely acceptable, but when you start tracking sugar, you’ll be surprised at how much you’re eating.
And one more thing? Always check the nutrients of food. A calorie of nacho chips doesn’t equal a calorie of banana or whole grain bread in that a chip doesn’t have much in the way of nutrients, but fruit and whole grain foods are packed with fiber and important vitamins and minerals.
Get out of your chair
Whether it’s TV or 8 hours at your desk without getting up, sitting can literally kill you. The most heart healthy people watch fewer than 7 hours of TV a week, and we’re guessing they also get out of their desk chairs once every hour or so to get the blood flowing.
Sleep 8 hours
How much or how little you sleep can also lower or raise your risk for heart disease. People who sleep too little have an almost 50% higher risk for coronary heart disease while people who sleep too much have an almost 40% increased risk. Interestingly enough, risk of stroke also goes up for both groups.
Heart healthy people aim for somewhere between 7 to 8 hours a night. Those who sleep nine or more hours on average or under six are the most at risk for heart-related complications.
We know, we know, you’re sick of hearing this one. But physicians say that smoking is the number one factor that causes unnecessary death in the United States. Smoking increases blood pressure, causes plaque build up, and is associated with obesity – all risk factors for heart disease.
You’ve probably been told that a glass of wine is good for your heart, and while that is most likely true, it’s all about moderation. One glass for women and one to two for men is considered moderate and can be beneficial, but excessive drinking can cause irregular heart rhythms, irregular heart beat, and a weakened heart muscle.
Not enough research has been done on the link between heart disease and stress, but stress does cause high blood pressure and bad cholesterol, so lowering stress levels is always in your best interest.