National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week is from February 9th- 15th for this year. This week focuses on cardiac rehabilitation’s contribution to improving the health and physical performance of people at risk for heart disease as well as those who have been diagnosed with heart disease or dysfunction. Special events are held in hospitals, exercise facilities, and outpatient rehabilitation centers throughout the country. Here are some tips to stay heart healthy on an everyday basis:
Heart Healthy Tip 1: No Smoking
Smokers have a higher build up of fat in their arteries and they generally have lower HDL (good cholesterol). Smoking can increase blood pressure and your risk of blood clots. Tobacco has chemicals that can damage your heart and blood vessels resulting in atherosclerosis, which ultimately leads to a heart attack. No smoking will help you live a longer life and have a healthy heart.
Heart Healthy Tip 2: Eat a heart-healthy diet
Consuming at least five servings of vegetables and fruits per day will help you to start a heart-healthy diet. Choose foods that are lower in sodium, lean meat, fish, poultry and meat alternatives such as beans along with lower fat milk and milk products. Read the nutrition labels and be aware of serving sizes.In your diet you should also include a small portion of soft non-hydrogenated margarine, vegetable oils, and nuts each day.A diet filled with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help to protect your heart.
Heart Healthy Tip 3: Exercise regularly
The American Heart Association suggests that you get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. You can easily break up that 30 minute workout into a three 10 minute session or a two 15 minute session. Do activities that are fun and convenient for you such as: walking, gardening, housekeeping, and jogging are good ways to start off your exercise. Do what works best for you.
Heart Healthy Tip 4: Reduce stress
Stress can increase your risk of having a heart disease; it can also lead to behaviors that are not healthy such as drinking and smoking. A few healthy ways to reduce your stress levels are by: avoiding stressful situations, maintaining healthy relationships, controlling your reactions to others actions, and having quiet time each day and meditating during that time.
Heart Healthy Tip 5: Limit the Alcohol
There are so many risks of excessive alcohol drinking such can raising your triglycerides (fat levels in the blood), high blood pressure, obesity, and heart failure. So if you do not drink, why start? If you’re a drinker refrain from drinking on a daily basis, it will help your heart and overall health.
Heart Healthy Tip 6: Maintain a healthy weight
Being obese or overweight can lead to health conditions that will increase your chances of getting heart disease and any other heart related problems. One way you can check to see if you’re weight is healthy is to calculate your body mass index (BMI). Your BMI consists of the calculation with your current weight and height, determining either a healthy or unhealthy percentage of body fat.
If you’re obese or overweight according to your BMI, talk to your doctor about losing weight. Maintaining a healthy weight will definitely keep your heart as well as overall health in great shape.
Heart Healthy Tip 7: Quality sleep
Improving your quality of sleep helps you to feel more energized and healthier. Lack of sleep raises levels of cortisol (a hormone), which leads to inflammation and causes plaque to break apart, and eventually travel to the heart or brain causing a stroke or heart attack. Getting at least 7 hours of sleep helps to lower your risk of getting any heart related problems. Set a sleep schedule and be faithful to it.
Heart Healthy Tip 8: Regular health screening
Getting regular screenings can help you to know overall health and what actions need to be taken if there are any health problems. Blood pressure, cholesterol, triglyceride, and diabetes screenings are the most important exams that you should take in every visit to your doctor.
Heart Healthy Tip 9: Family’s medical history
Knowing your family’s medical history will give you a better understanding of what to except for your health and how you can change those factors. Especially if you’re first-degree relatives such as: parents or siblings has had any heart-related conditions at an early age. Being able to get this information at an early stage of your life will help you to lower your risk and stay heart healthy.
Staying heart healthy can increase your quality of life as well as your lifespan. Get started, and have others join you on a heart healthy journey!