February Hearts are not just about Valentine’s Day! This is the perfect time to learn about your risk for heart disease, and the steps you should take to help your heart.
Here are a few tips to help keep your heart healthy:
There are many steps you can take to help protect your health and blood vessels. Avoiding tobacco is on top of the list. Smoking is one of the top risk factors for heart disease. If you smoke or use other tobacco products, keep in mind that the American Heart Association encourages you to quit. It can make a huge difference to not just your heart, but your overall health, as well.
Focus On Your Belly
Excess belly fat has been linked to higher blood pressure and unhealthy blood lipid levels. If you are carrying extra fat around your middle section, it’s time to trim down. Try eating fewer calories and engage in an exercise routine; it can make a big difference for your heart health.
Laugh Out Loud
Try to laugh out loud every day. Whether you enjoy watching funny movies or cracking jokes with your friends, laughter may be good for your heart. According to the AHA, research suggests laughing can lower stress hormones, decrease inflammation in your arteries, and raise your levels of high-density lipoprotein (HLD), also known as “good cholesterol.” LOL is not just meant for social media posts & text messages.
Know Your Numbers
Schedule regular check-ups with your doctor. Keeping your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides in check is important for your heart health. Discuss with your doctor the optimal levels for your sex and age group. Take steps to reach and maintain those levels
The “couch potato” lifestyle has an unhealthy effect on blood fats and blood sugar. If you work at home, or sit at a desk all day, remember to take regular breaks to move around.
Walk it Off
The next time you feel overwhelmed, exasperated, or angry, go for a walk. Even a five-minute walk can help clear your head and lower your stress levels, which is good for your health. Taking a half-hour walk every day is even better!
Aerobic fitness is key to keeping your heart healthy, but it’s not the only type of exercise you should do. It’s also important to include regular strength training sessions in your schedule. The more muscle mass you build, the more calories you burn. That can help you maintain a heart-healthy weight and fitness level.
Dehydration causes strain on your heart. Did you know that the amount of blood which circulates through your body, decreases when you are dehydrated? To compensate, your heart beats faster, increasing your heart rate and causing you to feel palpitations. This also causes your blood to retain more sodium, making it tougher for it to circulate through your body.
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