4 Simple Steps for Heart Health

It’s American Heart Month! And no, we don’t mean those traditional Valentine’s hearts that your kids made for you in art class. 

We’re talking about that hard-working, blood-pumping muscle that’s keeping you alive right now. No matter your age, taking care of your heart is an imperative part of maintaining your overall health, and we want to get you started on the path to better heart health. 

Add some of these easy heart-healthy activities into your daily routine, so you can establish habits that will keep your heart stronger than ever. 

Start Small with Exercise

Exercise. You knew it was coming. Even the word makes some of us cringe. But exercise doesn’t have to be a chore or something that you dread each day. Here are some excellent (and achievable) cardio exercises that enhance your heart health and boost your endorphins to put you in a better mood.

Go for a walk.

Basic, we know. But even a 10-minute walk every day helps you get your body moving and your heart pumping, and the more you do it, the better you’ll feel, and you may even be motivated to take longer walks or shake up your routine by heading to a hiking trail. Bring along some earbuds and queue up your favorite music or podcast to keep you motivated! 

  1. Take up a dance class. Don’t care for traditional workouts? Try a dance class! Your options are practically limitless: from swing dancing to hip-hop dance to Zumba, dancing is an excellent cardio exercise that’s also fun and gives you lots of variety in each session. Or, if you’re shy about dancing in a classroom setting, try an online class or just have impromptu living room dance sessions. There’s no right or wrong – just crank up some jams and let your body go wild! 

  2. Get creative. Again, weight-lifting and treadmills aren’t for everyone. But exercise isn’t just confined to a gym. Mowing your lawn, vacuuming your house, or gardening are great ways to be active while still moving your body and getting some heart-healthy activity in.

Make Easy Food Swaps

Our eating habits are closely connected to our heart health, but don’t be trapped by crash diets or other food fads. By making a couple food swaps each day, or just incorporating something new every week, you can slowly incorporate changes that have a huge heart impact. 

First, try adding in one additional fruit or vegetable into your daily routine. It’s healthy, inexpensive and an excellent way to discover new foods or preparation methods you may not have considered before.

A high-sugar diet can put you at an increased risk of heart disease, so you should also be conscientious about the amount of sugar you put into your body on a daily basis. Cut out sugar-laden sodas and other sweet drinks and replace them with water, sugar-free flavored water or iced tea (sans the sweeteners, of course). Sugary drinks are a sure and fast way to spike your blood sugar and potentially cause heart problems, and they’re a huge source of unnecessary calories. 

Finally, consider incorporating more fish and chicken into your diet in lieu of red meat. Excess amounts of red meat can be an influencing factor in developing heart disease, so swap your steak for a chicken breast or seared salmon every now and then to minimize this risk.

Try to Prevent Illnesses and Infections

The harder your heart has to work in fighting illnesses like the flu, pneumonia or other viruses, the heavier a toll it takes. By preventing common illnesses and infections, you preserve your heart’s integrity (and you also avoid those miserable viruses to boot). 

Simple actions like frequent hand-washing, sanitizing countertops and doorknobs, and getting seasonal flu shots help you prevent some of these nasty illnesses and keep your heart in tip-top shape. 

[H2] Work to Reduce Your Stress Levels 

The link between stress and heart health is undeniable. The more stress in your life, the higher your risk for hypertension, which can contribute to heart disease. 

Instead of turning to unhealthy stress management habits like smoking, drinking alcohol, or overeating, invest in yourself with good self-care practices, for example:

  • Meditation

  • Yoga

  • Deep-breathing exercises

  • Aromatherapy

  • Relaxing baths

  • Reading

  • Making time for a hobby

By setting aside even fifteen minutes a day for some self-care, you can significantly lower your stress levels, which benefits your heart, your mental health, and your attitude. 

Talk to a ProPartners Direct Primary Care Physician

Need more ideas on how to stay heart-healthy and enhance your physical and mental wellness? Talk to a ProPartners Direct Primary Care Physician! Our model ensures that our patients have access to their trusted physicians 24/7, so you can get professional advice on how to better your health – anywhere, anytime. Contact us today to accelerate your wellness journey!