In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death for women. While some factors, such as genetics, may make you more susceptible to heart disease, the best way to avoid cardiac issues is to maintain good heart health. Doctors swear that making wise decisions now can lead to better heart health in the future.
Your way of life has a big impact on your heart health. It is more important than genetics because approximately 80% of heart disease is preventable. People who take care of their hearts in their 20s, 30s, and 40s will not need to see a cardiologist for the majority of their lives.
So, what can you do to improve your heart health? Here’s what doctors recommend you include in your daily routine.
1. Be physically active
The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Can’t do that? You can exercise more intensely for a shorter period of time.
Spread out your exercise over the week rather than trying to cram it all into one or two days. The fountain of youth is physical activity. It improves the efficiency of your cardiovascular system. If you find it difficult to fit in an actual workout every day, aim to do something “to get your heart rate up” every day.
2. Visit your doctor regularly
There is a reason for annual physicals. Your heart doctor can monitor your blood pressure and check for signs of heart disease. Knowing your blood pressure is particularly important. High blood pressure has no specific symptoms, but uncontrolled blood pressure can lead to heart disease. If you and your doctor keep an eye on your blood pressure, you can take steps to lower it if it begins to rise.
3. Consider the DASH diet
The DASH diet is an eating plan based on National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute research (NHLBI). According to research, DASH lowers high blood pressure and improves cholesterol, lowering your risk of heart disease. Making dietary changes, such as avoiding unhealthy saturated fat, will contribute to a heart-healthy lifestyle.
4. Reduce your stress levels
Stress can be harmful to your heart, but it can also lead to inactivity and overeating, both of which can lead to high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This can increase your risk of heart disease. Even so, it’s difficult to avoid stress. Include meditation and deep breathing exercises in your daily routine—they only take a few minutes.
5. Give up smoking
Most people are aware that smoking is linked to a variety of serious health problems, but it never hurts to be reminded. Cigarette smoking raises blood pressure and increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Smoking is harmful to the heart and lungs in every way.
6. Consider reserving alcohol for special occasions
There are some mixed messages about alcohol and heart health. A glass of red wine a day may reduce your risk of dying from heart disease, according to some research, but there is no evidence that drinking red wine will actually improve your heart health.
7. Sleep well
Everyone’s needs vary, but the National Sleep Foundation recommends that most adults get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you consistently fall below that level, you may be endangering your heart. Poor sleep has been linked to high blood pressure and can make losing weight difficult. It can also make you less likely to want to exercise, which is bad for your heart.
Sleeping also allows your heart to recharge. When you sleep, your heart rate slows, your hormones balance, and you are not stressed. It’s good for your heart and overall health.