Strengthen your cardiovascular system and prevent heart-related diseases.
Cardiovascular health is something you probably don’t think about much. It does, however, affect you physically. When you engage in cardio-strengthening activities, you’re conditioning the heart by strengthening it. That way, it’s able to ward off illness and disease naturally. Your risk for heart attack and stroke decreases because you’ve mindfully taken good care of your heart.
Here are some heart-healthy practices you can incorporate into your daily routine today:
- Don’t smoke. If cigarettes, cigars or vaping are a part of your life, give them up as quickly as you possibly can. Tobacco contributes to a myriad of health problems and you can’t expect your heart to remain healthy if you’re a heavy smoker. Inquire about cessation programs offered by your employer or local health department. Then, take the steps necessary to break the habit. You could use the money that you used to spend on tobacco to make a charitable donation to a heart-related charity instead.
- Maintain a healthy weight and BMI. The more weight you carry on your frame, the more damage it can cause to your heart. Make sure to be conscientious about how much you weigh and your BMI. Ask your physician to give you accurate measurements whenever you go in for a check-up. That way, you have an idea of where you stand in terms of achieving your ultimate goal of better health. Remember that the more active that you are, the more calories you use up. Choose the foods that you eat wisely so that they don’t convert to stored belly fat and cause noticeable weight gain.
- Exercise vigorously for several hours a week. Make cardio exercises a priority. Do some heart-pumping exercises at least 2.5 hours a week. If you find your workout routine becomes stale and uninspiring, choose different activities to do that you can alternate. Do one cardiovascular exercise one day and try another type of exercise the next. The point is to get up and move in a way that makes your heart beat fast and increase the blood flow in your body. Even if you don’t have time to go to the gym, turn up the music and dance until you can no longer stand to do so. It’s a great start in increasing your heart’s health.
- Watch less TV. A sedentary lifestyle can cause weight gain which could lead to a myriad of heart-related diseases. Even if you’re the type to Netflix and Chill, consider how too much sitting impacts your health. Make a pledge to yourself that you’ll not sit for more than an hour at a time without getting up and moving your body. Make it a point to allow time in your schedule for relaxing but not in a way that negatively impacts your health and overall well-being.
- Don’t consume more than one alcoholic beverage daily. Although wine is said to help the heart, too much a good thing could be very bad for your heart. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Enjoy it on special occasions or with a meal. That way, it’s more of a treat and less of an expectation. You don’t want alcohol to be a crutch that makes you too tired to workout. Think of it as something you can have in moderation.
- Eat a balanced diet. Include green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean sources of proteins in your diet. You’re going to need the fuel to push through your workouts. When you eat right, it affects every cell in your body in a positive way. Each bite of food could help or harm you. Experiment with new ingredients, recipes, and preparation techniques. That way, you never grow old of eating the same heart-healthy foods you’ve had in the past.
- Make sure to include omega-3 fatty acids in the meals that you consume. Fatty fishes such as salmon and sardines are ideal for heart health. You’ll also want to add nuts, seeds, and oils such as olive oil to your diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential part of a good diet. They promote a healthy heart which is something you’ll need as you continue to work through your fitness goals.
- Give up sugary drinks. If you’re still consuming drinks with high fructose corn syrup or real sugar in them, think twice about doing so. Choose healthier drinks to indulge in such as naturally-flavored vitamin-infused waters, coconut water, and even kombucha. If you’re looking for the fizz you get with soda, switch to seltzer water. It will give you the bubbles but won’t cause your heart any harm the way too much sugar does.
- Skip the processed food. If it comes from a manufacturing plant, give it up. If it comes from a plant in nature, consider giving it a try. Processed food is often void of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. It is laden with fat, sugar, sodium, and empty calories. Get creative in the kitchen by making it a challenge to cook more things from scratch. If you’re short on time, try meal prepping at least once a week so you always have the food you want to eat on hand.
- Consume less red meat. Decide to join the Meatless Mondays movement. Stop eating red meat so regularly. Instead, choose lean sources of protein such as chicken, fish, tofu, and even beans. You’ll get the protein that your body needs to remain healthy but won’t clog up your arteries with unhealthy fats. You’ll also keep your blood pressure where it needs to be in order to be considered healthy.
Give your heart the attention it deserves. The aforementioned habits help strengthen one of your body’s most vital organs. A healthy heart is an asset. It helps you maintain your fitness practices and prevents deadly diseases from shortening your lifespan.
Go ahead and try some of the practices listed here. You’ll find that they complement your active lifestyle. You may find some suggestions more challenging than the next and that’s ok. You love to push the envelope and can easily do so in a way that helps strengthen your heart.