One person dies every 37 seconds from some kind of cardiovascular disease. It’s the leading cause of death for American adults of all genders, making it a major threat that not enough people pay attention to.

Maintaining your cardiovascular health is crucial if you want to be healthy and strong for as long as possible. With how common heart disease is, you should be taking all possible steps to stay in the best health possible.

If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with a few heart health tips that you can start applying today.

Keep reading to start improving your heart health.

Keep Stress Manageable

There is a lot of stress in today’s world. Are you keeping your cool? Higher stress levels can impact your blood pressure. Raised blood pressure has a negative effect on the heart.

There are a few things that you can implement into your daily schedule to help de-stress after a rough day.

Incorporating light exercise can help your body release endorphins or happy chemicals. These can bring down your overall stress levels. Bonus points if you do it outside; vitamin D from the sun has a boosting effect on your mood.

Taking long baths with calming additions like Epsom salts and oils is the ultimate way to kick back and relax after a hard day.

If you’re facing stress while “in the moment” you can learn how to walk away and return later. Letting your mind focus on something else for a moment until you’re able to calm down can be the difference between a major meltdown and a calm and steady head and heart.

Don’t Neglect Your Cardio

If you want to improve your cardiovascular health, you should be working on your cardiovascular exercise!

There are different kinds of cardio all with different benefits, but the best exercise is the one that you can make a habit of. You don’t have to waste hours at the gym if that isn’t enjoyable and sustainable.

Instead, talk walks or jogs outside when the weather is nice. Consider buying a bike and exploring new areas of your town or city. Get out and join a workout group with friends.

Whether you’re running, biking, or dancing, keeping your cardio up is going to improve your blood flow, give you endorphins, and help you maintain a healthy weight (which is crucial for heart health). The best exercise for heart health is the one that you enjoy and want to continue doing.

Eat Well

It’s okay to eat junk food sometimes, but the important word there is sometimes.

Sodium and unhealthy fats (or saturated fats) are terrible for your heart in the long run. They should be consumed in moderation. Red meats aren’t great for the heart either, so consider the occasional meatless Monday.

These things contain a lot of cholesterol. Cholesterol is important in small amounts, but in large amounts, it can block your blood vessels with fatty deposits. 

Healthy fats, on the other hand, should be added to your diet when possible. These are things like avocados and nuts. You should also be incorporating a good amount of fiber.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep isn’t just for making you feel well-rested. When you don’t sleep, your blood pressure may stay higher for longer, not getting the much-needed break during your sleep cycle.

As we mentioned before, high blood pressure is bad for your heart health.

If you manage a sleep disorder like insomnia or sleep apnea your heart can be affected.

If you have trouble sleeping at night, don’t ignore it. Look into sleep therapy, melatonin supplements, and even different bedding. Some people benefit from more form-fitting pillows, weighted blankets, or special mattresses. For example, here’s the best mattress for stomach sleepers.

Get Moving

We already mentioned that exercise is good for the body, but did you know that sitting around is actually bad for the body and heart?

Most of us have very sedentary work and school days. All of this sitting can cause long-term harm.

While you likely can’t just leave work for something more active, there are a few things that you can do to help.

If you work at a desk, you can use a standing desk or add a yoga ball or foot bike to your work setup. These things are great for small exercises and for keeping your body active.

It’s also helpful to take frequent breaks, even if it’s just for a few moments at a time of walking around the halls.   

Quit Smoking

This might be one of the most important things that you can do to protect your heart health.

Cigarette smoke can permanently damage heart and blood cells. It can thicken your blood and cause plaque to form in your blood vessels.

When these things happen, your heart has a harder time pumping blood throughout your body (and blood has a harder time getting to your heart). Even those who only experience secondhand smoke can suffer mild versions of these issues.

Roughly 20% of heart-related deaths have been associated with complications related to smoking.

While it’s best to never smoke at all, quitting smoking can undo a lot of the damage that was already done so you can return to your pre-smoking heart health.

Heart Health Tips: Takeaways

Protecting your heart is crucial. If you want a long and healthy life, protecting your heart can help.

These things won’t only help your heart, they’ll also help your general quality of life. You’ll feel better through getting better sleep, eating healthy foods, and getting moderate amounts of exercise.

These don’t have to be extreme changes. Even making one at a time and going slow will make a huge difference in your overall health. Take your time.

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