By | Healthy Living.

February, National Heart Month, is the perfect time to start embracing good habits to keep your heart healthy.    Adjusting a few simple parts of your lifestyle can go a long way in ensuring that your heart is functioning at its best.  So, here are 7 things you can start doing now to improve or maintain your heart’s health.

  1. Maintain a good balance of Cholesterol.

Cholesterol, a fatty substance in the blood, is an important part of your body.  There is good cholesterol, which prevents cholesterol build up in arteries, and there is bad cholesterol, which can lead to a heart attack by causing blockage in the arteries.

It’s important to make sure you maintain a good balance of blood cholesterol.  Healthy eating and exercise play crucial roles in ensuring that your body maintains a healthy level of cholesterol.

  1. Keep your blood pressure down.

The pressure of blood on the artery walls as it circulates around the body is called blood pressure.  It naturally fluctuates up and down depending on activity, but if blood pressure is consistently higher than normal, it becomes a concern.

High blood pressure can lead to a heart attack, so it is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly.  If your blood pressure is high, lifestyle changes like adjusting your diet and exercising more can help.

  1. Eat healthy and nutritiously.

One of the best ways to regulate your blood pressure and cholesterol is to make sure your diet consists of a wide array of healthy foods.  A heart-healthy diet should include

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Healthy proteins
  • Nuts, seeds, and whole grains
  • Low-fat dairy

It is also important to limit the amount of salt you eat, as too much salt can negatively affect blood pressure.

  1. Exercise regularly.

Exercising is a great way to prevent a heart attack or heart disease, and it can help promote weight loss and control blood pressure and cholesterol.

Aim to do a little exercise every day.  Even a 30-minute walk around the block is enough to make a difference.  Doing so will make you stronger, more energetic, and relaxed.

Additionally, the more time you spend exercising, the less time you’ll spend sitting down.  Research shows that sitting down for extended periods of time has negative effects on overall health.  Try taking breaks from sitting at your desk at work, and consider walking or biking home instead of driving or taking the bus.

  1. Quit smoking.

Smoking can increase the risk of heart attack or disease.  A smoker is,

  • 2x more likely to suffer a heart attack
  •  20x more likely to develop Angina
  •  5x more likely to have Peripheral Arterial Disease

Smoking is harmful to your heart and your overall health.  If you are a smoker, you should take steps to eliminate smoking from your life as early on as possible.

  1. Watch your weight.

Maintaining a healthy weight can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease.  There are several simple habits you can put into practice to keep a healthy weight:

  • Make healthy diet choices, and eat out only on occasion
  • Exercise a little bit every day
  • Spend less time sitting in front of a computer or TV
  • Drink more water and less sugary/alcoholic drinks

Try setting weight loss or diet and exercise goals for yourself.  Eating and drinking healthy paired with exercise will make your heart, and the rest of your body, happy and healthy.

  1. Make your mental health a priority.

It’s easy to prioritize physical health over mental health when it comes to keeping your heart healthy.  After all, heart attacks and heart disease are physical, and many of the steps you should take to prevent them are too.  But did you know that taking care of your mental health is an important part of keeping your heart physically healthy?

Studies show that heart disease is a higher risk for people with depression.  Depression is a mental illness with symptoms beyond simply feeling sad.  If you think you may be suffering from depression, talk to your doctor.

Your heart is important, and we want you to have what you need to keep your heart healthy.  Learn more about heart attack symptoms and some of the ways way can help you maintain good heart health from Crisp Regional.