February is heart month, which means celebrating our heart health and raising awareness about the effects of heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death each year in the United States, but what we want to focus on is that this disease can often be prevented through the choices we make each and every day.
Heart disease is something we can all help to reduce, just by making a few changes in our routines. We will outline a few simple ways to reduce the chances of contracting heart disease.
Commit to Activity
Physical activity comes with many physical and mental benefits. One of those benefits is that it can result in a reduced risk of heart disease. When physical activity leads to a healthy weight, it means a greater impact on your heart. When your body is operating at a healthy weight, all of your organs are operating at their highest ability.
Any moderate exercise like walking or swimming done for about 30 minutes a few times a week will help improve your heart health. A great activity that has been proven to help both heart health and chronic pain, is aquatic exercise. This is because it is a gentle form of physical activity that can be done at any age or level of physical ability.
Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet
With so many different diets, all touting incredible health benefits, it’s difficult to know which one is right for you. If you are looking for a personalized eating plan, let our nutritionist create the best diet for your personal needs. In general, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains may be the best route to heart health. This kind of eating is also known as the Mediterranean diet, and according to US News, it is best for a healthy heart.
The best way to eat healthily is simply to listen to your body and give it the nutrients it craves. Processed foods or foods high in sodium should be minimized in any heart-healthy diet.
Improve Your Sleep Quality
In our society, we are especially focused on hard work and managing our time to get more done in our day. While this is an admirable quality of American society, it can also cause us to forget about how important it is to get a quality rest every night.
Sleep effects more than just your level of fatigue, it can cause mood swings, weight gain, and – you guessed it- an increased risk of heart disease. Research has shown that sleep deprivation causes disruptions in many health conditions, including heart disease.
Start to prioritize getting to bed and waking up at the same time each day and getting about 8 hours of sleep each night. This commitment to sleep quality will start to impact many aspects of your daily life in a positive way.
Stress effects every part of ourselves, both psychologically and physically. This includes effects on your heart health. Oftentimes, stress leads to unhealthy coping strategies like binge-eating, or a high consumption of alcohol. Unfortunately, those habits only add to stress and other negative effects in your body.
Instead, when you start to feel the onset of stress, experiment with different healthy stress-management methods. Meditation can be as simple as pausing for a few minutes and breathing in and out while focusing on your breath. This is an almost instant way to destress your body. As you start to practice this simple meditation, perhaps start to look into even more in-depth and therefore effective meditation practices to eliminate stress.
Use these simple changes to help improve your all-around physical and mental health while reducing your chance of heart disease. To learn more about meditation, sleep quality, or healthy eating habits, explore our extensive health programs!