Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the U.S., claiming one in three women and one in four men each year. While these statistics are staggering, there is actually SO MUCH you can do to maintain a stronger, healthier and happier heart right now!
Choosing good fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated) helps lower unhealthy cholesterol and lower your blood pressure. Oils from fish, avocados, various nuts and seeds will help set your heart up for good health. Don't forget to load up on vegetables and fruits, lean protein and whole grains to keep your body at its optimum health.
De-Stress your day and your life
Chronic stress can lead to a flow of negative effects: heavy drinking, overeating, skipping exercise and depression. When you're stressed and anxious, cortisol, a stress hormone, floods your bloodstream and constricts your arteries, skyrocketing your blood pressure. Stress can make your blood more apt to clot, which can lead to heart attacks. Take the time to learn and practice heart-soothing tools that will calm your nervous system, like prayer, meditation, breathing, gratitude - - and don’t forget exercise!
Don't sit too long
Sitting for longer periods causes muscle cells to burn less blood sugar and fat, which leads to increased weight and blood pressure. One study shows that just one hour of exercise each day could erase some of the health risks of prolonged sitting. Moves like standing up every time you text or phone someone, investing in a stand-up desk, setting a timer to remind you to move a few times every hour, and planning walking meetings and lunchtime work-outs will keep you more active throughout the day.
Get active with aerobic exercise
Aerobic exercise benefits your body in these 5 ways:
It allows your arteries to relax. Cardiovascular exercise allows blood pressure to carry more oxygen to feed your muscles, enabling even the tiniest arteries to expand for more blood and oxygen to pass through.
Your heart muscle gets more toned - the stronger you make it, the more efficiently it works.
Your HDL cholesterol (the good kind) rises and the LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) decreases, helping to prevent heart attack or stroke.
Belly fat decreases - good news for your physique and for decreasing your chance of heart attack.
You feel good! Exercise boosts your mental and physical well-being by increasing insulin sensitivity and slowing or stopping the development of diabetes. Endorphins interact with your brain receptors to reduce the perception of pain and trigger a positive feeling in your body and possibly reducing feelings of depression.
Get your zzzzzz's
Getting at least seven hours of sleep each night allows your heart rate and blood pressure to slightly lower, which gives your cardiovascular system a much-needed rest. Think of sleep as fuel for maintaining all your body systems. Your heart will appreciate the extra TLC!
Your healthy, pumping heart literally keeps you alive, so hopefully you've learned some new things you can add in or tweak to your current routine to keep it ticking strong and for as long as possible!
I’d love to work with you to help create a cardio exercise plan and strategies to keep your heart strong and healthy! You can call me at 720-320-4212, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.
Here’s to your best health!
Dr. Trish PT, DPT