8 Things You Can Do to Take Care of Your Heart
Nowadays, we are all so obsessed with our fitness. We believe we have to be on top of the latest supplements, exercises, and general weight-loss obsessions constantly.
But despite 2019’s huge love for aiming towards those rock-hard abs and toned arms, many of us fail to pay attention to what is happening inside our bodies.
Many of us are so obsessed with a certain physique that we fail to notice when our gut isn’t working as it should, when our muscles need a break, or if we’re not doing enough of one form of exercise.
One muscle that we tend to be miseducated about it the heart. Cardiovascular disease is the world’s biggest killers, killing an estimated 17.9 million people each year. This represents over 31% of all global deaths, with 85% due to heart attacks and strokes.
If that isn’t enough to convince you to take better care of your heart, then we’re not sure what will be. So, from investing in the latest technology to eating a healthy diet, we’ve compiled a list of everything you need to know to take care of your heart.
The number of people reaching for tobacco in America fell to a record low of 14% in 2017. However, this still leaves 34.3 million smoker Americans who are putting their lives on the line on a daily basis.
According to Cleveland Clinic, smokers have a two to fourfold increase in coronary artery disease, and around a 70 percent higher death rate from the disease than nonsmokers do.
This is because smoking damages your arteries, reduces your blood oxygen levels and raises your blood pressure – all symptoms which could lead to major problems with your heart.
As the heart is a muscle, it needs to be treated just the same as any other in your body. Getting the heart working with moderate activity for 150 minutes each day will keep it strong and toned. And as the heart becomes stronger, your BPM (beats per minute) rate will lower as fewer beats will be required to pump the same amount of blood around your body.
Now 150 minutes a week can sound like a lot when you view it all in one big chunk. However, it works out to be just 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. This can be anything from hitting the gym, to taking a walk in the park.
It is also recommended that every person should be taking around 10,000 steps daily to keep healthy. To keep on track, invest in a pedometer. These handy watches stay with you all day, making sure you’re moving as much as you should take care of your heart health.
When people think about ways to take care of their heart, many fail to pick up on the effects of stress.
According to the American Heart Association, stress may affect factors that increase the risk of heart disease such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, the likelihood of reaching for a cigarette, physical inactivity and overeating.
Your body also kicks into fight or flight mode in times of stressful situations as it releases adrenaline, which can cause your breathing and heart rate to quicken and your blood pressure to rise.
To tackle this, find activities that make you feel calm and collected. A lot of people now take weekly yoga classes, however doing something as simple as taking deep breaths in stressful situations benefits many.
Invest in technology
For a lot of people, any old pedometer seems to work well. However, if you’re looking to really step up with your heart health and look after yourself in the best possible way, then it may be time to invest in the real deal.
Omron’s HeartGuide smartwatch is one of the best on the market not only winning Best of CES’ ‘most revolutionary wearable’ but for being the first FDA approved watch with an inflator, too. This smartwatch comes complete with a state-of-the-art oscillometric blood pressure monitor, which means the band can inflate and deflate to take blood pressure readings on the fly.
If you’re looking for better insights into your heart health whilst looking stylish and prepared for any situation, then this is the way to go.
Reduce alcohol intake
Drinking alcohol excessively can cause high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms called arrhythmias and heart muscle damage. These factors will all stop the heart from pumping as efficiently as it should.
This is known as cardiomyopathy and can cause death, usually through heart failure.
It’s definitely best to stick to the recommended units of alcohol, which on average works out as 14 units each week, split evenly between at least three days.
Consume less salt
A high-salt diet can lead to high blood pressure which then increases your risk of developing heart disease or a stroke. Once again, stick to the recommended daily limits. The average, healthy adult should consume no more than 5g of salt each day, which equates to 2000mg of sodium.
By maintaining a clean, healthy diet, you will automatically reduce your salt intake as the highest amounts are found in fast food.
Eat more fish
This may seem a little strange to some, however Omega-3 found in fish is great for your health. This is because you’re consuming unsaturated fats that can lower your cholesterol when substituted for saturated fatty acids such as those in meat.
Omega-3 may also reduce inflammation in the body, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of blood clots, decrease stroke and heart failure risk and reduce irregular heartbeats.
It is recommended to eat at least one to two servings of fish each week to reap the benefits.
Keep to a healthy weight
Much of this is linked to stopping smoking, eating less salt, having a balanced diet and even introducing more fish into your diet.
People who are overweight or obese have a much higher risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
If you’re finding it harder to get around than you did when you were younger, then it may be time to shed some pounds to look after your heart. Now is the time to invest in a heart rate monitor! According to Healthcare Weekly, these are a great tool to judge your weight loss and fitness progress, and can act as the cheapest form of personal trainer out there.
Ready, set, go…
Now you know the best 8 ways to look after your heart, it’s time to jump off that chair and get moving, eating healthier and tracking your heart rate. Don’t think you need to start with all of them at once, either – pick one or two and build your way up for ultimate heart health.
This article was contributed by Julian Gnatenco @ JGBilling, a medical coding company