Heart disease can come in many forms: hypertension, coronary artery disease, heart rhythm problems, etc. In the United States, 1 in 4 people loses their lives to heart disease.
Unless a person receives regular health checks, heart problems can be undiagnosed until symptoms become apparent. The symptoms range from a heart attack, arrhythmia, and heart failure.
47% of Americans have at least one of the following risk factors: high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking habits. Aside from this, obesity, an unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity increase the risk of contracting heart disease.
Without proper treatment and lifestyle changes, heart disease may develop or continue to worsen. No matter the condition, taking ample precautions with regards to one’s well-being should improve heart health.
So, read on to get some lifestyle habits to improve heart health.
Have Regular Aerobic Exercise
You do not need to be a total gym buff to improve heart health through exercise. For cardiovascular conditioning, aerobic exercise or “cardio” could be the best option. The key to this is to keep your heart rate up and breathe faster.
You don’t need any equipment to perform this exercise. Aerobic exercise could come in the form of walking the dog, taking a stroll at the park, running, etc. You can watch videos for dance exercises or low- or high-intensity cardio workouts at home or jog in place.
A good baseline or starting point is to get moving 30 minutes per day, five times a week. It does not need to be intense quickly. It’s essential to work your way up to sustaining more extended periods of aerobic activity. Otherwise, you may strain yourself.
Eat fruits and vegetables. Take everything moderately. They also say wine is good for your heart. There’s one thing you should avoid, though: trans fats.
Trans fats can be natural or artificial. Natural trans fats are present in meat and dairy. According to Healthline, natural trans fats “comprise 2–6% of the fat in dairy products and 3–9% of the fat in cuts of beef and lamb.” They stem from animals’ digestion and—when taken moderately—do not harm your heart health.
What people should be worried about are artificial trans fats. These are processed to contain hydrogen, which extends food shelf life and makes it more solid. Trans fats cause an increase in bad cholesterol without the corresponding change in good cholesterol.
Moreover, trans fats can be responsible for cardiovascular health problems. In a diet where trans fats are taken instead of saturated fats, good cholesterol levels decreased by 21%. In addition to this, there was a 29% damage on artery dilation.
To avoid trans fats, lessen your intake of processed foods and vegetable oils. It also helps to read the label to be aware of the presence of trans fats and their percentage.
Get Quality Eight Hours Of Sleep
Sleep is the body’s way to heal itself. After all the activities and day-to-day encounters, the body needs to restore its energy. The body does not react well to a lack of sleep. It causes poor mental health, affects productivity, increases stress levels, and can lead to heart problems.
Nocturnal dipping, or the decrease in the blood pressure during sleep, regulates overall blood pressure. When this occurs, blood pressure dips by an estimate of 10% to 20%.
Without good quality sleep, nocturnal dipping cannot occur. This results in hypertension and an increased risk of stroke and heart attack.
Sleep deprivation may also cause low energy and a lack of impulse control. As a result, a person may not be able to stay active throughout the day. They could also fail to adhere to a healthy diet, mainly because appetite is also affected by sleep deprivation.
Don’t Stress Too Much
Stress may not directly affect heart health. However, it leads to a chain of events that will eventually reach your heart.
People’s responses to stress are different. For some, stress manifests physically. Some people turn to stress eating, smoking, drinking, etc. In the long run, these are detrimental to a person’s heart health.
On the other hand, stress has innate biological responses. It triggers the production of adrenaline, which is the “fight or flight” response of the body. This causes faster breathing and an increased heart rate. Then, blood pressure rises.
Constantly exposing the body to stressful circumstances may normalize that response to the body. On the other hand, keeping the stress level at a minimum will significantly benefit your health.
Take Care Of Your Heart
The older people get, the more prone they are to heart disease. Healthy habits do not need to be physically challenging to impose. Simple aerobic exercises such as walking or dancing are enough to keep an active lifestyle. Eating healthily and getting enough sleep are the basics of health and wellness. Lastly—and perhaps the most challenging one—learn to relax and avoid stress.