The heart is the most vital muscle in the body since it drives oxygen and blood to all other organs in the body. When the heart fails to get the care it requires, serious complications like inflammation of artery linings and plaque formation.
Plaque causes heart attacks and blockage of blood movement in arteries. The journey to maintaining a healthy heart begins with understanding the conditions that can affect it and the strategies to prevent them.
In this article, you’ll learn some effective ways you can consider to improve your heart’s health. You can also click this link to learn more about how you can improve your heart health:
Staying physically active is a great step towards ensuring your heart remains healthy. Workouts are efficient ways of strengthening heart muscles, controlling body weight, and preventing blockage of arteries. They also control blood pressure and blood sugar levels, which are the leading causes of stroke or heart attack.
Some of the best exercises for your heart health include:
- Aerobic Exercise: This includes cycling, running, swimming, playing tennis, walking, and skipping the rope. These activities lower blood pressure and improve blood circulation. In addition, aerobic exercises reduce the chances of getting type 2 diabetes. For patients already living with diabetes, these physical activities play a crucial role in managing their blood sugar levels.
- Strength Training: This is an effective way to improve your heart health, especially for individuals with too much body fat. It effectively burns fat and creates lean muscle mass. And if you have a big belly, you should do strength training. Remember that the bigger your waistline is, the higher your risk of developing heart diseases. Examples of strength training exercises include push-ups, chin-ups, squats, and gymnastic with powerlifting and weight machines
- Flexibility Workouts: These are workouts that boost flexibility and musculoskeletal health. Examples of workout exercises include yoga, swimming, and Tai Chi. These activities render one free from cramps, joint pain, and muscular issues. As these enhance your flexibility, you can maintain better stability and become less prone to slip and fall accidents. You should perform flexibility workouts before and after resistance training and aerobic exercises for best results.
2. Eat Vegetables And Fruits
Fruits and vegetables contain beneficial nutrients, vitamins, fiber, and minerals. Essential vitamins that play a significant role in maintaining a healthy heart include vitamins A, C, and E. Likewise, minerals like zinc, phosphorus, and magnesium enhance heart health. And all these can be acquired through a healthy diet.
A diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables will shield one from heart diseases, diabetes, and even cancer. For a day, eating two different types of fruits and five distinct vegetables is essential for good heart health. Naturally, this will help in the following ways:
- Lowering the blood pressure
- Maintaining healthy body weight and reducing obesity
- Reducing cholesterol
3. Deep Breathing
The best thing about taking a deep breath is that you can do it anytime, anywhere. When done daily, it drastically improves heart health. It also decreases stress, relaxes the mind, and helps you get better sleep.
Deep breathing also eliminates high levels of cortisol, which is the main stress hormone of the body. Having high levels of this hormone in your body may result in prolonged stress, high blood pressure, and high amounts of blood cholesterol. All these are the leading causes of heart diseases.
When stressed, the heart lacks enough blood and oxygen. Your blood’s clotting ability is affected too. And when your blood is too viscous, your chances of having a stroke get higher.
Luckily, deep breathing plays a critical role in alleviating stress, which affects the functioning of the heart. Though it might seem that its impact is minimal, you shouldn’t ignore it. Aside from helping you live another day by preventing a heart attack, taking deep breathes also let you benefit from the following:
- Reduces pain
- Improves blood flow
- Increases immunity
- Calms mind down and alleviate anxiety
- Relaxes the body and mind
- Enhances quality of sleep
4. Having Power Breakfasts Everyday
Whether you need more time to sleep or you have a busy schedule, never skip your breakfast. A heart-healthy breakfast should comprise of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
If you’re already used to eating bagels, rolls, waffles, donuts, and muffins every morning, make sure that they aren’t too sweet and are made of whole wheat. When it comes to vegetables and fruits, you can safely consume them fresh, frozen, smoothies, or juiced. Be sure to be mindful of the amount of sugar you add.
5. Cut Calories
This involves reducing the intake of calories per day to lower the chances of heart disease. The body gains lots of calories from added sugars and alcohol. It’s healthy to avoid alcoholic, sugary, and heavily processed drinks. Instead, you can increase your water intake.
On the other hand, there are cooking oils that have lots of calories. If you use them, replace them with oils derived from olive, canola, flaxseed, avocado, walnut, sesame, grape seed, and sunflower.
And if you have a sweet tooth, it’s high time to shun late-night snacks to avoid heart complications. If you want to live long enough, it’s one of the sacrifices you should make.
6. Quit Smoking
Cigarette smoking interferes with the pumping of oxygen from your lungs to your whole body. When one inhales cigarette smoke, the blood that distributes oxygen gets contaminated with harmful chemicals.
Those chemicals from cigarette smoke can destroy your blood vessels, which leads to cardiovascular heart disease. As you may already be aware, some of the cardio complications that cigarette smoke can aggravate are stroke, coronary heart disease, heart attack, hypertension, aneurysms, and peripheral artery disease.
Smoking cigarettes causes several lethal health issues. To avoid aging faster and heart diseases, quit smoking.
7. Avoid Sitting For Long Periods
You may incorporate body exercises into your routine. Sitting and living a sedentary lifestyle only leads to health complications. And it doesn’t help that modern office jobs force you to sit still for more than eight hours a day.
Remember that when you sit for long, there’s a high probability of contracting deep vein thrombosis. And aside from that, you may experience the following as well:
- Metabolic syndrome
- Hip and back pain
- Stress and depression
- Heart diseases
- Varicose veins
- Stiff shoulder and neck
To avoid the above complications and maintain a healthy heart, consider standing up and stretching a couple of times when you’re at work. After all, you can’t underestimate the effects of sitting for long periods. The damage experienced by individuals living a sedentary life is, most of the time, irreversible.
Concisely, a healthy heart is the foundation of overall body health. Regardless of age, leading a healthy life lowers the risks of heart diseases. You have the power to control numerous things that affect your heart’s health. If you don’t know where to begin, the effective ways mentioned above can greatly help you.