According to the World Heart Federation, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of deaths globally. The reasons range from smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, to pollution, and rare & neglected conditions such as Aortic Stenosis and Cardiac Amyloidosis.
By making just a few lifestyle changes, we can reduce the risk of heart disease and improve our quality of life. Although we cannot change some risk factors — such as family history, genetic factor, gender and age — there are some key heart disease prevention steps, you can take to reduce your risk.
So this Heart Day lets pledge to take good care of your heart and for that here are a few easy ways by which you can ensure that your heart stays healthy and you stay strong.
Breakfast is often called “the most important meal of the day”, and for a good reason. As the name suggests, breakfast breaks the overnight fasting period. It replenishes your supply of glucose to boost your energy levels and alertness, while also providing other essential nutrients required for good health. According to studies, people who skip breakfast tend to gain extra weight, and weight gain contributes to high cholesterol and high blood pressure, which can contribute to heart diseases.
Stress puts a lot of strain on the heart. Try to find ways to de-stress by doing things you enjoy, like spending time with my family or a pet, jogging, and unplugging from electronics.
Getting enough sleep is extremely important for heart health. Aim to get six to eight hours of sleep a night and encourage people around you to do the same. It should also be a quality, uninterrupted sleep. Most people do not get enough sleep, and that has genuine cardiovascular implications. If you are having trouble sleeping, try unplugging devices an hour before bedtime, meditating, and exercising during the day.
Studies show that sitting too long during the day harms heart health. Try to move as much as possible during the day. If your job requires you to sit at a desk most of the day, try to get up every half an hour or so and walk around for 10 minutes, or consider a standing desk.
Any amount of activity is better than none. Trying to motivate yourself. Going to the gym or running on a treadmill could be a challenge for many, sign up for guided exercise classes instead. They can help keep you motivated. But if this doesn’t work for you, find what does. Staying active also helps decrease the risk of stroke and diabetes and can improve memory, sleep, bone health, and mood.
Taking the stairs is an excellent way to sneak in cardiovascular exercise in your daily routine. If you find it hard to devote time to work out, climb a few flights of stairs during the day, this is a great way to fit in some exercise that can help promote a healthy heart.
Spending quality time with your loved ones is a significant stress reducer and can help fill you with joy. Being happy has been associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Ensure that you take out time to do this daily and your heart would thank you in the long run.
Managing work and life can be stressful. Stress causes elevations of cortisol levels, a hormone that can lead to a variety of cardiovascular ailments, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity. Running counters all of these, resulting in weight loss, decreased blood pressure, increased bone density, and increased joint and muscle strength. Running can also reduce stress, increase confidence, and make you more productive.
If going for a run early morning is challenging for you, find a park or gym near your workplace and go for a run when the time permits. Even if you manage to go for a run two to three times a week, it will prove to be beneficial.
Busy days and hectic life routines don’t always encourage a healthy diet. Make salads or vegetable juice a part of your daily routine, and your heart will reap the benefits. If you are not a big fan of vegetables, order a chopped salad with a dressing of your liking from the nearby salad store. And if time doesn’t permit for a salad then grab a veggie juice from a nearby juice bar that you can drink quickly, to get the nutrients in without much effort.
When there is a choice between walking and travelling by a vehicle, prefer to walk. Staying physically active is essential for the heart. Remember, your heart is a muscle — you have to flex it!
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