Many people are worried about suffering from heart diseases at an early age, since these conditions can be quite serious and may impact one’s daily life in important ways. In the United States alone, it is estimated that someone suffers from heart attack every 40 seconds. Because of this, it is only natural that people will try to avoid heart diseases as much as possible. Read on to learn a few of the most popular and easiest ways to make sure you are leading a heart-healthy lifestyle.
1. Watch Your Diet
The most important thing you should take note of when it comes to maintaining a healthy heart and circulatory system is your diet. You should avoid foods high in cholesterol and triglyceride in order to have a healthy diet.
People who have high cholesterol levels may be more likely to develop heart disease in the long run. When there is too much cholesterol, atherosclerosis wherein cholesterol builds up in artery walls, causing blockages. Foods such as fried foods, fast foods and other high-cholesterol foods should be avoided.
A high triglyceride level is sometimes a sign of certain diseases that are risk factors for heart disease. If you have an unchecked triglyceride level, you may increase your chances of developing type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, hypothyroidism and other genetic conditions that can affect your arteries and heart. Sugary drinks, desserts and alcohol are some of the foods high in triglyceride that you may want to avoid if you are concerned about your overall heart health.
2. Exercise on a Regular Basis
Regular exercise is one of the single most important factors in good cardiovascular health. Specifically, the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate heart-healthy exercise per week.
Simple Aerobic Exercises
There are many types of exercises you can do to keep yourself healthy. However, if you want to improve your cardiovascular system, aerobic exercises such as running and swimming are the best thing to do.
You can visit a gym to have access to all the equipment you need to make exercising easier. However, many aerobic exercises can be actually done at home or outside. You can simply buy jumping ropes and use them for 15–20 minutes 3 times a day.
Another option if you want to keep your exercise simple is to use a treadmill three times a week for about 45 minutes. If you prefer exercising outside, a brisk 30-minute walk 5 days per week around your neighborhood or a nearby park can be beneficial to your heart health.
Intense Aerobic Workouts
If you want to take it to the next step, you can enroll in classes such as cardio kicking, Zumba and indoor cycling that can help you decrease your chances of developing heart disease. The recommended amount of exercise weekly is 150 minutes of moderate exercise but just 75 minutes of vigorous exercise.
3. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
In order to stay healthy, you should get rid of any bad habits that can damage your body, such as drinking alcohol or smoking. These habits increase the likelihood of suffering from various heart diseases as you grow older.
Avoid Drinking Alcohol
Aside from being a main contributor to strokes, alcohol can also cause cardiomyopathy or the stretching and drooping of heart muscles.
Avoid Smoking Cigarettes
Cigarette smoking contributes to a lot of diseases that affect many parts of your body, including your heart. Atherosclerosis, for example, is a disease where plaque builds up in arteries and can arise from smoking. This can lead to numerous heart diseases such as coronary heart disease and peripheral artery disease.
4. Prioritize Healthy Sleep
Getting quality sleep is one of the most vital things you can do to ensure that your heart, arteries and mind stay as healthy as possible.
About 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep is enough for adults in order to feel fully recharged the next day. Failure to get enough sleep can cause increased stress levels, increased appetite and extreme tiredness. All of these factors may increase your likelihood of having a heart attack.
5. Manage Stress Levels
One of the leading causes of heart attack aside from poor diet is high blood pressure. Trying to maintain a healthy stress level can help you stay healthy and avoid heart diseases.
A simple meditation routine lasts any time between 2 to 30 minutes. Although you can extend your meditation exercises for more than this time period, many working adults find that 7 minutes a day is enough to reduce their stress level while also helping with other daily activities.
While yoga does not directly decrease your chances of having heart disease, it can still help you manage your stress levels and overall physical wellbeing.
If you are going through a difficult time, it is highly advisable to visit a therapist in order to help you deal with your emotions and avoid complications such as heart attack.
6. Get Regular Checkups
Even if you are maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it is still important that you have yourself checked on a regular basis to ensure that you are healthy and there is no underlying illness that can get worse as you age.
As you grow older, it is also important to visit a doctor at least once a year to screen for certain diseases that can be risk factors for heart disease.
It is highly recommended that adults check their blood pressure at least twice a year to make sure that you do not have high blood pressure, which is one of the major causes of heart attacks.
Type 2 Diabetes
One of the risk factors for heart disease is diabetes. If you have a medical condition such as obesity or family history of diabetes, it may be a good idea to stay away from food with high sugar content and have yourself screened for diabetes at an earlier age than usual. The longer you have unchecked diabetes, the more likely you are to develop heart disease.
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