Healthy Heart: 5 Tips for Healthy Heart Living
Last year, the CDC found that heart disease affects over 26 million Americans. At Brightstar Care of Mid-Missouri, many of the people we serve are living with heart disease and its related illnesses. Living with a healthy heart is an ambitious task if you do not have a friend or caregiver to practice with. Do you have someone who wants to help you live with a healthy heart? Here are a few ways you and a friend can live with a healthy heart together.
1. Eat More Fruit
It is common knowledge that fruits and vegetables are good for the body, but did you know that eating more fruit can actually improve heart health? The reason fruits are good for your heart is because they provide us with extra nutrients. Oranges, apples, melons, bananas, etc. all contain vitamins, fiber and minerals that help increase heart function. Here are some other benefits and tips on eating fruit:
- Eating fresh fruits and drinking water can reduce the effects that other illnesses, such as diabetes.
- Cutting out sugary beverages such as soda and juice is one of the top recommendations by doctors everywhere to improve the life and function of your heart.
- All produce and fruits are good for you – that’s the good news! The only minor tip when buying your fruits is to watch out for canned fruits. Make sure that you choose the one with the least amount of sodium and sugar.
2. Stay Active
Exercise, exercise, exercise! Any physical activity that requires your body to move and increase the beating of your heart is great for improving cardiovascular condition. If you feel that you are out of shape, start with a moderate amount of low intensity training and work your way up. Set goals to walk for 30 minutes, 5 days a week, and then increase the time, distance, and rate as you feel in better shape! Take these points into consideration as well:
- Make the choice to take the steps instead of elevators.
- Walk to destinations that you might sometimes drive to. That convenience store across the street or the coffee shop a couple blocks down from your workplace – take a little extra time and walk to increase your physical activity.
- Set goals with a friend that is looking to increase their physical activity as well. Whether that is going to the gym together in the mornings, meeting up for an evening walk or jog, or even just sending each other daily reminders. This extra motivation can keep you on the right track.
3. Reduce or quit your smoking habits
To become serious about increasing not only your heart health, but also your overall health in general, you are going to have to put the cigarettes down. Improving your health is a long-term goal, so treat this process the same. The reason so many people fail at quitting is they try and eliminate it cold turkey. Take your current amount of cigarettes you smoke a day, and eliminate one off of that number every week until you are no longer smoking. You will immediately notice the cardiovascular benefits that come with cutting smoking and increasing exercise. Here are some quick smoking facts:
- The harmful chemicals in cigarettes stay on the arteries of your heart, making it difficult to pump blood and breathe.
- Smoking cause plaque to build up in the primary passages of your heart, severely increasing your risk of heart diseases like CHD (Coronary Heart Disease) and PAD (Peripheral Artery Disease).
- E-cigarettes also contain nicotine and many other harmful chemicals that affect your lung capacity as well, so cut these out of your lifestyle as soon as possible.
4. Adopt a stress-relieving hobby
We all have so many things going on in our day that quite often we let stress consume and ruin our lives. Sometimes it is a necessary to take a step back and incorporate some time for yourself. Think about what you enjoy doing and what times of the day you have free, and focus on a hobby that takes your mind off the stress of work and other aspects of life. If you need a little help with ideas, here are some good ones to get your thought-train rolling:
- Good stress-relieving hobbies include reading books, cooking healthy, writing poetry, and other creative brain engaging activities.
- Check out this list of 17 other hobbies to try from Buzzfeed.
- Looking for a place to express your creative thoughts or to relieve stress? Well here’s an idea. Blogging is the modern day equivalent of a diary, an online place for you to post anything you desire and to engage with followers who found your blog based on the topics you’ve chosen. This simple act can actually be a good source for relieving stress. Try Tumblr, Wordpress, or Medium to document whatever you would like, even your healthy heart journey.
5. Exercise (again)
This point cannot be reiterated enough. If there is one thing you take from this post on a healthy heart, it is that exercise is crucial. There are so many great avenues that can accomplish these steps of a healthy heart all in one! You never know, you might start enjoying going to Hot Yoga, which could be your stress relief, exercise, and a reason to have a healthy fruit smoothie after! Stand up and walk around at work, do a few sit ups while you wait for the shower to warm up. Anything would help:
- Staying active 20-30 minutes per day lowers your blood pressure.
- Check with your doctor to see if there are physical activity limits you may have before participating in strenuous activities.
- Play basketball, have a family yoga night, but most importantly, make the exercise fun! You'll be more likely to stick with it if you're doing something you enjoy.
The nurses at BrightStar Care believe that healthy hearts are important, and we can help you practice healthy heart lifestyles. If you are looking for more help and support for a loved one who might have heart disease or need to learn how to live with a healthy heart, contact us today for a free in-home assessment. Our nurses can work with you to identify key risk factors and create a day-to-day plan to adopt a healthy heart lifestyle.