The heart does more than just feeling emotions; it keeps you alive. The biological importance of a healthy heart cannot be undermined. At the same time, heart diseases are rampant these days. It is regarded as the number one cause of death globally, which consumed over 17.7 million lives in 2015.
Given the sedentary lifestyle, these numbers have risen significantly over the years. Thanks to the awareness campaigns that have clearly outlined the dos and don’ts of healthy living, people are more conscious about their lifestyle choices day in and day out. Here are the small steps you can take to keep your heart in good shape.
Limit Your Addictions
Whether you’re addicted to your sweet tooth or to smoking/alcohol, if you want to keep your heart healthy, you’re better off without both. Excess sugar intake causes obesity and related health disorders. Smoking is directly associated with cardiovascular diseases. And alcohol is known to leave an impact on the liver and other vital organs. So what’s the point of temporary pleasures when you know they’ll take you down, eventually?
And while we’re on this subject, make sure you avoid bad fats too. Learn to differentiate between margarine and butter. When you’re taking things off the shelf and putting them into your shopping cart, make sure you read the label once to familiarize yourself with everything that is in it. And if something sounds like it shouldn’t be there, let it go.
Go Heart-Healthy on Your Diet
Healthy living isn’t just about avoiding things that hurt you; it is also about consuming things that nourish you. Be as picky about the food you put in your mouth as you are when deciding the dress for the first date with your crush! Everything has to be perfect. There’s no chance for even the slightest mishap!
The concept of a well-balanced diet, although reiterated infinitely, actually holds the key to your health. You need a mix of all the important nutrients in specific quantities. And if you’re not able to get them all via food, try adding a few supplements to your daily diet. These can make up for areas where your food choices don’t.
Also, make sure you’re consuming fiber too. Roughage doesn’t just help your digestive system; it keeps your blood vessels healthy too. It helps lower cholesterol levels. So if heart health is on your mind, this is a good place to start!
Sadly, we all have stressful lifestyles. The pace at which the world is evolving has only added to the burdens of the average person. Work is stressful, even your personal life gets stressful at times. With all that cortisol rushing in your blood vessels, you’re not only getting older quickly, you’re also more prone to cardiovascular complications AKA heart diseases.
It is easier said than done but you need a stress management strategy to get you through your toughest days. For one thing, a long walk always helps – and it ticks two things off this checklist too! If you’re athletic, you might want to indulge in your favorite sport from time to time. If you’re into crafts, try creating something new. Or if you’re not into anything, in particular, try your luck at any art you fancied as a child. It’ll shift your attention to better things in life.
The worst part about stress is that it damages all aspects of your life. It hurts your mental state, which in turn impacts your relationships. It damages your physical body as well so you’re less motivated to do anything. It starts a vicious circle of doom. Nip it in a timely manner and save yourself from a lifetime of health/heart diseases. If stress gets overwhelming, use a reliable telemedicine platforms to contact a mental health counselor.
Whether it is a brief early morning jog or a full-blown workout at the gym, you need to keep those muscles moving. Any form of exercise – even if it involves climbing a flight of stairs – will raise your heart rate temporarily and lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, and body weight in the long run.
The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise. You can break these down into doable sessions as per your own schedule. And if this appears to be a colossal task to complete, you can start from a 10 to 15-minute walk every day and slowly build on it. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day; you can’t get fit overnight!
To make it simpler, try seeking help from a like-minded individual. You can gym together or share an early morning routine to ensure both of you can work towards your fitness goals. That way you’ll be less inclined to skip and more motivated to stay fit and healthy.
Making all the aforementioned changes to your lifestyle will not make you immune to heart diseases, particularly if you’ve inherited the defected genes from your forefathers. You’ll be predisposed to certain medical problems due to your genetic combination. And if you’ve identified a situation like this, be extremely particular about your medications.
Religion, beliefs, and athletics have nothing, in particular, to do with the science of your body. If you’re sensitive to the weather, you’ll probably fall ill more often than your siblings. Just because heart diseases do not manifest physically isn’t a good reason to skip those pills of life. Understand how things work and adapt accordingly. Be conscious about medicines recommended by your physician. You’ll be glad you did what you did.
Staying healthy and fit is a challenge, especially with the lifestyle these days. But a little effort on your part can play a major role in determining how well you age. You could be one of those graceful oldies who are a delight to talk to, or you could spend your last moments bedridden screaming out for life. Make wise decisions while you still can. All the best!