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Healthy Heart

Healthy Heart

Sep. 29th, 2020

Do you ever think about how much our heart does for us on a daily basis? The heart is part of the circulatory system, pumping blood throughout our body. This blood carries oxygen and essential nutrients to our organs.1 This helps ensure our organs properly function and keep us healthy.

Do you see how much of our bodily function leads back to our heart? We often forget just how essential a healthy heart is to keeping ourselves energized throughout the day.

Let’s take a look at some tips on how to maintain a healthy heart!

Exercise

This is probably the most common fact you hear about keeping your heart healthy, but it is true! Exercise is good for your body, your health, and most importantly your heart.

There are studies showing a positive link between exercise and overall health – physical and mental.2 There are numerous ways to get active, so choose the exercises that work best for you and your lifestyle.

Get Moving

Find a physical activity or workout routine that you enjoy! There are many benefits to getting your heart rate up – including weight loss, improved stamina, raising good cholesterol, and lowering bad cholesterol.3 All of these benefits are essential to maintaining overall health and keeping a healthy heart.

This can be anything that gets your heart rate going such as:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Sprinting
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Boxing
  • Doing chores around the house
  • Sports such as tennis and basketball

If you have a medical condition and are unsure where to start, seek advice from your doctor on how to get moving. Trying to spend less time sitting down is a great start! For beginners, even beginning with 30 minutes of exercise will make a difference.

Challenge Yourself

As you start exercising, you might find yourself getting comfortable in your routine. This means your heart will be used to the workouts, and the benefits can start diminishing.

To keep a healthy heart, gradually increase your time and intensity spent on exercising. For example, if your body doesn’t feel challenged after your 20 minute walk, try doubling it or jogging for those 20 minutes instead!

If you want a real challenge, try a new activity that will help push your body and heartrate. This is your chance to try that boxing class you’ve been looking into, or adding weight into your workout routine.

Diet

Healthy eating is extremely important when it comes to a healthy heart! Paying attention to a healthy diet can help with blood pressure, cholesterol, and even blood sugar levels.4

This doesn’t mean you have to ditch your favorite occasional snack or ice cream on Friday night. You can focus on adding in healthy foods and subtracting or limiting the unhealthy ones. Everything in life is about balance, so choose a diet that keeps you healthy but allows an occasional treat.

Add Color

The first step you can take to better your eating habits is by adding color to your plate!5 Basically, the idea is that the more colorful your plate is, the more likely it is to include fresh and whole foods.

When you think about color, adding fruits and vegetables into your everyday meals may be easiest lifestyle change. Strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, bananas, oranges, raspberries, and more can be found at your local supermarket. Think about incorporating some of these as sides or snacks to start improving your diet today.

These fresh fruits and vegetables are typically free of added sugar, sodium, and saturated fat that are usually found in processed foods. They also contain vitamins and other healthy nutrients such as fiber and water. These two are great for your body, staying active, and losing weight if that is part of your goal.

Heart-Healthy Foods

There are many foods that are proven to be beneficial to keeping a healthy heart.6 After all, a poor diet can lead to an increased chance of heart disease.7

Some foods that are heart-healthy include berries, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and even dark chocolate! These foods are known to reduce blood pressure, help lower inflammation, contain antioxidants, and supply the nutrients we need.

These foods have science behind why they are beneficial to your heart. For instance, whole grains are high in fiber, which in turn can help lower bad cholesterol. Berries also have this effect of lowering bad cholesterol. The lower your bad cholesterol (LDL) is, the lower your risk of heart disease.7

Some other examples include healthy fats like avocado – avocados are high in potassium, which is great for your heart! If you like fish, salmon is known for having omega-3 fatty acids, which can have a positive impact on blood pressure.7

These are just a few options when it comes to foods that will give you a healthy heart – there are many out there! It is best to do your research and find what foods you personally like that can also benefit your heart.

Stress Management

Stress is easy to come by. Whether it be a big payment coming up or simply trying to make it to work on time, stress looks different for everyone.

However, stress affects our body negatively causing headaches, stomach pain, or eve sleep loss.

Although there aren’t studies showing a direct correlation between stress and heart disease, there is a chance that stress can lead to activities that cause heart disease.8 This may include drinking, smoking, physical inactivity, or more.

You may wonder how these activities can actually affect your heart. When turning to alcohol as a coping mechanism, excessive usage can lead to high blood pressure or heart failure.9 When smoking, those chemicals get into your bloodstream and can damage your blood vessels, leading to larger issues.10

Stress is hard enough on our bodies. We encourage you to find a way to cope with stress that will help your future self and your body!

Locate the Cause

The first step to managing your stress is to realize what is causing it. Some things are inevitable and life happens, and sometimes it’s inevitable to feel anxious or unsure.

However, if there is an activity that you’re certain causes you stress and you can put an end to it, do it!

What Helps You?

The next step is to overcome or fight the stress. We know how difficult it can be when you’re overwhelmed, but you need to take the first step in conquering these negative feelings.

Find what motivates you to keep going and develop techniques to help relieve the stress. Is it going for a walk outside, reading a book, or talking to a friend? There are also resources available such as stress management classes or therapists.

Overall, the things in life that are good for your heart are also good for your overall health. Learn to focus on a healthy lifestyle and everything else will flow from it. Try starting with some of these tips!

Saber wants you to have a Healthy Heart!

Ultimately, there are many things that are good for your heart, but there are also many things that are bad for your heart. This post is just scratching the surface on some of those topics.

Saber Healthcare Group encourages you to take one small step in the right direction to having a healthy heart!

Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.

 

Sources

  1. Healthwise Staff. “How the Heart Works.” Michigan Medicine: University of Michigan, uofmhealth.org. December 15th, 2019. Accessed September 22nd, 2020. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/tx4097abc.
  2. “American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids.” American Heart Association, heart.org. April 18th, 2018. Accessed August 25th, 2020. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults.
  3. Milano, Steve. “The Advantages of Increased Heart Rate During Exercise.” Livestrong, livestrong.com. August 13th, 2019. Accessed September 22nd, 2020. https://www.livestrong.com/article/100558-advantages-increased-heart-rate-during/.
  4. Mozaffarian, Dariush, M.D, et. al. editors. “Healthy Eating for a Healthy Heart.” Harvard Medical School, Harvard Health Publishing, health.harvard.edu. 2011. Accessed September 24th, 2020. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/healthy-eating-for-a-healthy-heart
  5. “5 Reasons to Eat More Color Infographic.” American Heart Association, heart.org. Accessed August 25th, 2020. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/add-color/5-reasons-to-eat-more-color.
  6. Castaneda, Ruben. “8 Incredibly Heart-Healthy Foods.” U.S. News, usnews.com. June 8th, 2020. Accessed September 23rd, 2020. https://health.usnews.com/health-care/patient-advice/articles/incredibly-heart-healthy-foods.
  7. Link, Rachael. “15 Incredibly Heart-Healthy Foods.” Healthline Media, healthline.com. March 5th, 2018. Accessed September 23rd, 2020. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/heart-healthy-foods.
  8. “Stress and Heart Health.” American Heart Association, heart.org. June 17th, 2014. Accessed August 24th, 2020. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/stress-and-heart-health.
  9. “Alcohol and Heart Health: Separating Fact from Fiction.” Johns Hopkins Medicine, hopkinsmedicine.org. Accessed September 23rd, 2020. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/alcohol-and-heart-health-separating-fact-from-fiction.
  10. “How Smoking Affects Heart Health.” U.S. Food & Drug Administration, fda.gov. May 4th, 2020. Accessed September 23rd, 2020. https://www.fda.gov/tobacco-products/health-information/how-smoking-affects-heart-health.