Being that February was Heart Health month, we wanted to highlight a few things that each of us can do to help ensure our heart is as healthy as possible and let us lead a happy, healthy life for years to come. So here are the top 5 things you can do to focus on, and improve, your heart health.
1. Exercise More (I mean, of course we would put this first!)- The studies all say the same thing…. exercising helps with a myriad of health issues and helps lower your risk of heart related illnesses. Additionally this helps us keep our weight in a healthy range, which further decreases heart related risks.
2. Sleep More- Ok, so we aren’t talking about hibernation here, but many of us do not get enough sleep each night to be at optimal health. Along with a lack of energy, not getting at least 7 hours of sleep can lead to higher blood pressure, a known factor of heart disease, and a slower metabolism which can lead to weight gain, which can increase the chances of heart related illnesses.
3. Ditch the Salt- Salt can certainly be used to enhance the flavor of many of the foods we eat, the problem is that salt is already in many of the products we buy. This over abundance of sodium in our diets can raise blood pressure, which can then lead to heart disease. Not to mention we’ll lower our risk of stroke by cutting our salt intake. So read the label and put down the little shaker on the table!
4. Relax Stress is a killer! We’ve all heard that before, and while continuous high levels of stress can cause a myriad of other non-heart related issues, staying on topic we know that stress like this can cause blood vessels to constrict, blood pressure to rise and can lead to hypertension and increased risk of stroke and heart attacks. Take some time to unplug, meditate, or spend time with friends to take the pressure off at least momentarily.
5. No Smoking- not even one! With 35% of all heart related deaths being attributed to smoking, this one is a bit of a no-brainer, but as those of you who do or have smoked in the past it can be easier said than done. It will be hard, but your heart, and your lungs, will thank you for years to come!