Heart Health: The Do’s & Don’ts

Did you know that heart disease is the #1 cause of death in adults?  Most of us are shocked when we hear that.  It has been stated many times that America is increasingly becoming a sick nation. In fact, heart disease is caused by lifestyle habits, and can be prevented by diet and exercise.  In a collaborative effort to help us all be the best version of ourselves, we have put together a quick do’s and don’ts list to help you avoid heart disease in your daily life.

THE DO’S

1. Maintain a Healthy Diet
A few tips to achieve a healthy diet: portion size, more veggies and fruits, eat whole grains, limit saturated and trans fats, choose lean-fat protein sources and keep your sodium intake to a teaspoon of salt a day. Try using herbs and spices instead of the salt shaker.

2. Cardio Workout Sessions
It is recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine that you participate in 30 minutes of moderate cardio 5 times per week OR 20 minutes of intense cardio 3 times per week.

3. Good Posture
Did you know that bad posture reduces your breathing capacity and limits circulation? According to Alice Daily, author of Daily Strengthening: 6 Keys to Balance Core Muscles for Optimal Health, “Good posture affects your positive mental attitude that will provide a balance state of being and a happy heart.” And as we all know; poor posture can make you more susceptible to injury.

4. Better Attitude
Stress is a huge factor that plays into heart disease. Chronic stress and negative emotions account for 30% of heart attacks and strokes. “Positive emotions such as daily hugs, listening to joyful music, and laughing until you cry not only offsets stress, but also improves blood pressure and overall vascular health,” shares Michael Miller, M.D. University of Maryland Medical Center.

5. Sleep
We’ve all heard it before, sleep is directly tied to health as well as weight loss, but did you know that it is not about being a morning or night person, it is about having a CONSISTENT sleep schedule. A great example of this is sleeping in on the weekends. Research has suggested that sleeping in late on the weekend raises your risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Consistency is key.

THE DON’TS

1. Sitting for Hours
Even if you exercise regularly, sitting for long periods of time can put you at risk for heart disease and stroke. On average, 40% of Americans work an 8-5 job where they’re sitting at a desk for extended periods of time. A way to confront this in the workplace is to stand while you take a phone call, get up and walk around every hour for 10 minutes or even get up and stretch every half hour. By being proactive in this way, you will reduce eye strain from the computer, combat poor posture, and trigger blood flow to re-engage and stimulate the brain

2. Bottling Up Frustration and Depression
As stated in the “Do’s,” stress is a key component in emotional and heart health. When you bottle up stress your body can take it on internally causing ulcers, skin irritations, heart disease as well as other major health issues.  Release your stress by working out or venting to someone you trust.

3. Neglecting Dental Care
Studies are revealing that your teeth and gums are a telling sign of your heart health. New research shows that gum disease causes bacteria that can lead to inflammation in the body. So be sure to brush your teeth and floss, as well as go in routinely to your dentist to get your teeth professionally cleaned.

4. Excess in Alcohol Consumption
You’ve read and or heard reports that small amounts of alcohol may be good for the heart, but alcohol in excess – not the case. Having more than two drinks per day puts you at greater risk of high blood pressure, high levels of blood fats, and heart failure. Not to mention, those extra calories.

5. Assuming You Are Not at Risk
Heart disease claims more lives in the US than any other illnesses. Take the necessary steps to prevent risk of heart disease by making your lifestyle a healthy and active one.

 

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