February is National Heart Month, making it the perfect time of year to highlight the role prevention plays in cardiovascular wellness. Heart disease is currently the leading cause of death in the United States. Irregular heartbeat, breathlessness, and poor circulation can all be early warning signs of heart disease. However, you can work to keep your heart healthy in many ways, a few of which are discussed below.
How to Keep the Heart Healthy
Routine exercise reduces the risk of heart disease. The heart is a muscle, and as with any muscle, exercise strengthens it and makes it more efficient at pumping blood throughout the body. A stronger heart expels more blood with less effort, allowing it to beat slower, lower blood pressure, and improve poor circulation.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week. If that seems too daunting, break it up into smaller segments, like 15 minutes in the morning and 15 in the evening. Choose an exercise that you enjoy, whether it’s running, biking, or swimming.
2. Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet
A heart-healthy diet should first limit or eliminate foods that raise cholesterol, like salt, sugar, and trans fats. Integrate healthier dining options into your daily diet: lots of fresh vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, sardines, and flax seeds.
3. Reduce Stress/poor circulation
There is a link between high-stress levels and heart disease. Getting caught up in daily stress makes a person more likely to engage in risky cardiovascular habits, like smoking, eating unhealthy foods, and overconsuming alcohol. Lower your stress levels by practicing meditation, tai chi, or restorative yoga. Carve out time for yourself each day, even if it’s just a few minutes. Unplug from your electronic devices and allow yourself to relax and be present in the moment.