Heart disease is by far the leading cause of death. Heart problems like high blood pressure can lead to premature heart failure, heart attacks, strokes, and other life-threatening conditions. The good news is about 80 per cent of all cases of cardiovascular disease are preventable. You can lower your risk markedly by making some changes to your lifestyle including doing some things that are easy, simple, and even enjoyable. Here are some ways to keep your heart healthy:
Exercise truly is your best medicine. Exercise has been shown to reduce cardiovascular disease (i.e., heart attack, stroke, hypertension) and also help with quitting smoking, stress and mood, bone density, and cognitive abilities.
Exercising helps take care of your heart by:
- increasing heart strength and stamina
- lowering blood pressure
- keeping body weight under control
- lowering cholesterol
- reducing depression
- improving sleep quality
Aim for at least 30 to 60 min of activity per day. Regular or daily physical activity can lower your risk of heart disease by reducing your weight, blood sugar, cholesterol, and BP. It can be 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic exercise like walking, cycling, or jogging or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, or two or more strength training sessions a week. Choose an activity you enjoy to ensure you get moving regularly.
Eat a balanced diet
A heart-healthy diet is a key component to keeping your heart healthy. Many foods out there can affect blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and risk of inflammation, which can substantially increase our risk for heart disease. When we eat foods that look a lot like they did in nature, meaning no one has done much to them, they have FIBER.
Fruits, vegetables, and nuts are great heart-healthy foods with vitamins, minerals, and slow-burning fiber, providing your body with long-lasting energy. Fiber-rich foods are especially important for the heart because fiber helps regulate your blood sugar, lowers blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, and are a good source of antioxidants.
Keep your heart healthy and strong so that it can efficiently pump more blood to deliver oxygen and nutrients to other parts of your body.
Drink plenty of water
Water makes up approximately 70% of our body weight. Every organ in the body needs water to do its job properly.
If you do not have enough water in your body, you may become dehydrated. When you become dehydrated, your blood thickens, making it hard for your blood to flow smoothly throughout your body. Because of this, your heart will have to work harder to overcome this resistance to blood flow. Drinking lots of water keeps your body hydrated, which means you are consuming more water than you are losing.
A person’s water intake can vary depending on the level of activity and other health problems. For the average person, around 1-2 liters of water per day will help take care of your heart.
Get adequate sleep
Studies show that less than six hours of sleep can increase your risk of heart disease. Lack of sleep leads to a higher risk of obesity, high BP, heart attack, diabetes, and depression.
People who slept nine or more hours at night were shown to have a 38% chance of dying from heart disease and a 65% risk of a stroke. Make sleep a priority in your life by setting a schedule and sticking to it. Thus going to sleep and getting up at the same time every day.
Have regular heart check-up
One of the most important things you can do is see your doctor for a regular check-up or annual physical. Regular blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, physical exams, and having a chat about your lifestyle risk factors, all of which can be done as part of a routine or annual check-up – are important to keep your heart healthy. Make sure to follow your doctor’s recommendations including taking prescribed medications as directed.
The heart is an amazing part of our bodies that tends to go unnoticed until something goes terribly wrong. Don’t wait for something bad to happen, take the time to invest in your heart health today to ensure it continues to provide a strong rhythm for you throughout your life.
Regency Healthcare has comprehensive health check-up packages for people of every age. Book yours today.