Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important for living a long, happy life. We all know looking after our heart is essential to avoid any issues in later life, such as heart disease or even heart failure, that can sometimes require surgery to fix such as an aortic valve replacement or an artery bypass. There are ways that you can improve your heart health before it gets serious.
Here are a few tips for keeping your heart healthy.
One of the most important things for ensuring a healthy heart is to avoid smoking or stop if you do – you can reduce your risk of heart disease by half if you go without smoking for a year, so it’s never too late! Chemicals that enter the body when you smoke can damage the heart and blood vessels. The smoke produced by cigarettes reduces oxygen in the bloodstream, which means your heart must work harder to pump oxygen to the rest of your body and your brain, which in turn, increases blood pressure. As soon as you stop smoking, your body will benefit – even if it’s only been a couple of days.
We all know how important exercise is to keep our hearts healthy and strong. Taking part in regular physical activity can help reduce the risk of heart disease and help control your weight and reduce the chances of developing other conditions that may lead to a strain on your heart. Exercising doesn’t necessarily mean you have to run a marathon or spend all hours in the gym (unless you really want to!), it can be something as simple as going out for a brisk walk every day or going for a short run a few times a week.
If you’re new to exercise, you may need to start small and build up – even housework, gardening, and taking the stairs can help to improve your fitness levels. Exercise is great when it comes to reducing the risk of heart-related issues and is also good for boosting your mental health.
A Heart Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet means that you can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol. Some of the foods that you should look at including in your diet to improve heart health include a variety of fruit and vegetables, beans and legumes, whole grains, lean meats, and fish, and make sure you include healthy fats like olive oil. You should limit foods that are high in salt, sugar, saturated and trans fats found in fast and fried foods, as well as alcohol. Eating a healthy diet is good for the heart and can lead to your feeling more energised.
A less talked about way to keep your heart healthy is to make sure you’re getting the right amount of sleep each night. Adults need at least seven hours of sleep nightly which should be made a priority in our lives. Not getting enough sleep can mean that you’re more at risk of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression. If you struggle to sleep, stick to the same schedule every night so that your body can get used to the routine. Keep your room dark and quiet, so it is easier to drift off. If you’re getting enough sleep but seem to still be excessively tired during the day, be sure to consult a medical professional.
Finding healthy ways to manage stress is important when it comes to maintaining a healthy heart. Sometimes when we’re stressed, we can turn to things like alcohol, smoking, and even overeating to help us deal with how we’re feeling. Practicing healthier ways of coping in stressful situations can stop you from turning to unhealthy habits. You could try physical activity to promote the release of happy hormones and take your mind off anything that is troubling you, or try meditating, this is also a good way of staying calm and controlling how you react to certain situations.