Your heart is more than just a muscle; it is responsible for keeping you alive every second of the day. It also has to work hard, especially when you are exerting yourself. However, if you lack in fitness or you are carrying extra weight, your heart has to work even harder. Together with a bad diet and stress, these elements can cause some serious damage to the organ keeping you alive. Don’t panic; there are ways that you can start to look after your heart and make it healthier.
Aim for a Good Night’s Sleep
If you are one of those that likes to stay up late and work, or you like to lay in bed in the mornings, then you might not be giving your heart the best treatment. A recent study of middle-aged adults showed that those who slept for the magic seven hours a night had less calcium in their arteries than those who had more or less than seven hours. Calcium in the arteries is one of the early signs of heart disease. If you are having problems getting to sleep, or you don’t feel refreshed in the morning, you should see your doctor so that they can help you.
Keep Your Blood Pressure Down
When you visit your doctor, they will likely take your blood pressure to see how your heart is doing. If your blood pressure starts to rise to a high level, then this can put pressure on your artery walls and cause scar tissue to form. In turn, that can make your heart work faster and cause it to get tired. To stop this from happening, try to reduce your salt intake. There are many foods, especially processed foods that contain a high level of salt. You also need to limit your intake of alcohol to no more than one or two drinks per day.
Adopt a Healthier Lifestyle
There is a lot in the news and on the internet about what people should be eating and the foods they should avoid. While there are many ideas about a healthy diet, the best thing to do is to try and increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables and lessen fatty and high-calorie foods. It isn’t an easy choice, and it can take time to switch to a healthier eating habit, but the benefits to your body and your heart will be immense. It is also a good idea to try and increase the amount of water that you drink. Coffee and tea won’t be able to replace the water that you use each day, so to keep hydrated, you need to drink plenty of water.
Get Your Health Checked
Even though you might feel fine, it is still important that you get yourself checked by your doctor regularly so that any problems can be resolved early. For example, there are millions of people around the world that are suffering from diabetes yet don’t know it. It is a condition that if left unchecked, can have effects on your long-term health such as high blood pressure and eye problems. When you grow older, the chances of these conditions increase, so if you are over 40 years of age, it is important that you get your health checked to be sure.
One of the most important things you can do to improve your heart health is to start exercising. Becoming more active can help you in many ways, not just by strengthening your heart. It can also help you to lose weight, improve your general health and it is good for your mental health as well. If you haven’t been active for a while, then you first need to see your doctor to make sure you are fit enough to start. You can then start to slowly increase your level of exercise until you are at a level that is comfortable for you. Some people try to begin too fast, but, this can cause injuries and perhaps sap your morale. Start by taking a walk every day at first, then if you can, start running. You will soon start to feel better after a couple of weeks, and you can then run or walk for longer distances. If you have mobility problems, then there are still ways that you can get fitter. Try to do some exercises sitting down, or perhaps try doing some yoga. These are gentle exercises that will still help you but won’t be so hard on your joints.
Give Up Bad Habits
There is now a lot of evidence that points to certain things that can cause damage to your heart. One of them is smoking, which has been seen to cause significant damage to your heart and your health in general. Other things like drinking too much alcohol and eating the wrong foods are all factors in heart disease. If you want to get healthy, these are the first things you need to eradicate from your life. Smoking is a habit that can be tough to break, but there are now many programs and products on the market that are geared to helping people quit. There are also other ways such as acupuncture, that has been shown to help people with habits like smoking.
Reduce Your Stress
Stress can cause many problems in your life, not including mental health issues, mood swings, and comfort eating. High levels of stress have also been linked to heart problems and strokes. If you are feeling a high level of stress, then you need to find ways to try and minimize it as much as possible. One way is to try meditation or create some time to yourself when you can relax and unwind. Try to remove stress from your life, cut down on how much you are working, find a pastime that makes you happy. You can also talk to someone like a therapist who can discuss your stress and the causes.
If you can take these ideas on board, you will be making your heart much healthier.