Leading a healthy life is the key to having a healthy heart – it really is that simple. Eating right, getting plenty of sleep, and exercising regularly are the simple and effective methods for improving your cardiac health. Even minor lifestyle changes can have lasting positive effects, so embrace these changes today. Here are 6 ways to look after your cardiovascular health.
Perhaps the most essential factor to consider is how active you are on a daily basis. Aerobic exercise strengthens your heart, reduces blood pressure, lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol, and burns calories. Maintaining an appropriate weight is critical to your heart health, and aerobic exercise is the way to drop excess pounds. Some common aerobic exercises include jogging or running, swimming, playing active sports, and riding exercise bikes.
Better Sleep Habits
Studies have shown that poor sleep habits are associated with weight gain and heart problems. You should be getting around 8 hours of sleep each night in order to keep your metabolism functioning properly. A lack of sleep can also cause stress, which is known to cause potentially serious health problems. Try to go to bed and wake up on a regular schedule, and avoid ingesting foods or drinks that keep you up, such as caffeine or heavy foods.
Many people don’t realize that our mental health directly affects our physical health. Stress is associated with a myriad of different health problems, including cardiovascular disease. Take some time out of your day to just relax. If you feel overwhelmed, do something that makes you happy. Some simple and effective stress relievers include exercise, meditation, massage, and being creative. Try to stay focused on the bigger picture, and avoid stress triggers whenever possible.
There are plenty of delicious foods that promote cardiovascular health. While you may have to give up some junk foods, you may find that eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats opens up new culinary possibilities. Avoid foods that contain hydrogenated oils or trans fats, and try to decrease your portion sizes. Some people find that writing down all food consumed throughout the day is a great way to stay accountable and also track calories. Consider including endurance drinks in your diet, be sure to consult your dietitian for including it in your diet before or post-workout.
At this point in time, there is no denying the tremendous strain that cigarettes put on the heart. Your cardio health improves within minutes after quitting cigarettes, so take that step now. Quitting can be very difficult, so you may want to speak to a physician about the latest therapies. After 1 year of not smoking, the risk of heart disease is cut in half, and after 10 years of not smoking, you have the same risk as non-smoker, according to WebMD. Take this important step now, and start experiencing the benefits immediately.
Track Your Progress
Because lasting heart health requires long-term lifestyle shifts, it is important to monitor your progress. If you notice yourself slipping, make changes. Seeing how much weight you have lost can be a powerful motivational tool, and it also helps you to track what works and what doesn’t. Exercise bikes often have convenient tracking tools, which can be very helpful. You can also join a Spinning class, which allows you to accurately keep track of your accomplishments.
The time to make important changes is now. While embracing these tips for heart health may seem like a formidable undertaking, you will find that they become habit over time. Once you start to feel healthier, you will notice that it gets so much easier. Remember, start small and stay focused on your long-term goals. You may slip from time to time, but remember to get back up and stay on the path to true cardiovascular health.