1. Choose a nutritious diet
What we choose to put into our bodies matters in more ways than simply how we look on the outside. A nutritious diet full of a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, fiber, and healthy fats are key to keeping our bodies in tip-top shape. The key to changing your eating habits is not to cut out all that is bad, but to gradually incorporate better choices. We may not realize it, but our bodies adapt to our eating habits. The more nutritious foods you consistently incorporate into your diet, the more your body will start to crave those healthier food options. We have a bad habit of thinking “I could never give up ___”. That’s simply not true; this way of thinking is controlled by the brain and taste buds, not the body. Skeptical? Don’t knock it until you try it.
2. Get your heart pumping
A crucial factor to maintaining heart health is keeping your ticker active and pumping on a regular basis. Similar to our diet, the benefits of exercise reach far beyond our physical appearances. Moving in a way that makes you feel confident and accomplished is so impactful for our minds and bodies. Whether it be a rejuvenating yoga flow, a heavy lift sesh at the gym, or a walk in the park, any movement is better than none at all. Exercise is advantageous in many aspects of our lives such as lowering blood pressure, strengthening muscles and bones, reducing stress, and so many more.
3. Get some sleep
It’s no secret that a majority of Americans don’t get the proper amount of sleep. According to the CDC, more than one in three Americans admit they do not get the recommended 7 hours of sleep. Our society has grown to adopt the state of mind that being busy is more important than resting our minds and bodies; we have made productiveness a priority. What many don’t think about are the repercussions of not getting enough sleep over a prolonged period of time. High blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease are just a few effects of poor sleep. With all that our bodies do throughout each and every day, that which we can and cannot see, don’t you think they deserve adequate rest?
4. Steer clear of secondhand smoke
For years we have been told to avoid smoke and secondhand smoke like the plague as they are detrimental to our health in more ways than just our hearts. Secondhand smoke is more harmful than we may think as the CDC reveals secondhand smoke alone contains more than 7,000 chemicals with at least 70 potentially attributing to cancer. Consequences of exposure to secondhand smoke, other than smelling of chemicals and hacking up a lung include coronary heart disease. Look out for your heart and lungs by avoiding the dangers of smoke-filled air.
5. Keep the pressure off
The signs of high blood pressure are ones we never want to see. In today’s fast-paced and sometimes overly ambitious society, we can easily find ourselves getting worked up. Stress at work, in our relationships, in our day-to-day routines can add up quickly without us even realizing. According to the American Heart Association, our bodies under stress release hormones that stimulate a “fight or flight” response causing our hearts to beat faster and blood vessels to constrict. Our advice? Do more of what you love. Nothing relieves stress like spending time with those who make you laugh, hitting the trails on a sunny day, getting lost in a good book, or whatever it is that makes you calm and content.