Keeping your heart in good working order is so important that February has been designated as “Heart Health Month.” During this month of awareness, we want to share some ways to help you maintain cardio health.
When you think about it, you might be surprised by how much your heart supports your body. This vital muscle beats 100,000 times a day, pumping around 2,000 gallons of blood through your thousands of miles of capillaries, arteries and veins every day.
So it’s not surprising that you want to keep your heart healthy. Unfortunately, cardiovascular disease is one of the leading health problems that both men and women face today. Plaque and cholesterol build-up can block the blood flow through important arteries which leads to stroke and heart attacks.
The good news is you can reverse these threats with heart healthy habits like regular exercise and smart eating.
Exercise for Your Heart Health
A heart pumping exercise routine oxygenates your blood flow. When you breathe faster, you inhale more oxygen, which gets pushed through your body quicker. That means more nutrients reach deep inside your body than when you don’t exercise.
Over time, that translates into a stronger immune system and greater endurance. But what if you have limited mobility? Simple chair exercises like marching in place or tapping and reaching, help to build strength and get your heart rate up. Find out if your community offers exercise classes and attend the ones that appeal to you and suit your needs.
Eat for Your Heart Health
Luckily, you don’t have to transition to a lettuce-only diet to reap the benefits of a healthy heart. Instead, include more heart healthy foods like lean protein, leafy greens and foods rich in omega 3 healthy fats. Wild salmon, spinach and avocadoes are all food sources of omega 3’s. These “good” fats help reduce cholesterol. Other benefits include reducing achy joints and improving memory.
Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and bok choy “scour” your arteries to reduce plaque buildup.
Of course, it won’t come as a surprise that reducing or eliminating baked goods, fried foods and fatty meats will also benefit your heart.
Small Changes Add Up
If you haven’t done a lot of exercising in recent years or focused on eating healthily, don’t expect to make a sudden transformation. Start with 5-10 minutes a day of exercise, gradually working up 30-60 minutes every day. At the same time, make healthier food choices every day. It all adds up to a healthier heart.
Of course, the best medical advice comes from health care professionals. Always consult your doctor.