Keeping Your Heart Healthy
Heart health is a major long term concern for most of us. It always seems that cardiovascular disease is one of those creeping threats that we never taken seriously until it happens to us. Unfortunately, most of the United States and several other Western countries have cultures that promote behaviors that actually cultivate heart disease without us really knowing it. Our high stress lives tend to put constant strain on the body while the lack of time to do other things means we end up making less than healthy meal choices. Not being able to find the time to exercise regularly causes still yet more damage. These facts are all damning and make actually trying to work to keep your heart healthy an honest and positive endeavor that should be supported. We don’t always know where to begin when confronted with the need to make the life changes necessary to support heart health though. The good news is that we have a few broad tips that can help point your in the right direction.
A healthy diet is one of the core components to helping to maintain heart health because poor diet tends to play one of the larger roles in heart disease. Eating a diet rich in sugars and fats puts strain on the body and begins to build up unhealthy levels of fat. These in turn begin to clutter the body on various levels that slowly contribute to increasing disease and other problems. Working to help ensure that you’re eating a healthy diet goes a long way to help counter this. How we define this is more important though. A healthy diet involves ensuring that all food you’re eating is of a healthy portion size for your body. Overeating, even when it is healthier foods, can cause a myriad of issues. Once you get to a healthy portion size, you want to ensure the foods you’re eating are healthy. That means having a diet heavy on vegetables with a decent number of fruits and comparatively light on most forms of meat. Work with your doctor to find a diet that supports a healthy lifestyle for you.
Diet only takes you so far when it comes to helping ensure heart health. A sedentary lifestyle with a good diet is a bit better than one with a poor diet, but it still leads to a situation where fats can end up building up in the body over time. Creating an exercise routine helps to work against that and helps to actually improve your overall health over time by getting various systems of the body into shape. Building musculature, especially lean muscle, is particularly good as it will boost your resting metabolic rate. This is the amount of energy your body burns simply maintaining itself and means it is harder for your body to gain weight. What makes a good exercise routine is going to vary from person to person though. We’re not all equally physically capable. It is worth noting that even briskly walking for a half hour to an hour and half counts as good exercise as long as you do it three to four times a week. As with a healthy diet, it is recommended that you work with your doctor to figure out a healthy exercise routine.
One of the last major components to helping to minimize heart disease is learning appropriate stress management techniques. It turns out that stress can be really hard on the body over an extended period of time. Who knew? Scientists have attempted to get people to understand for a long time that generalized and maintained stress on the body tends to have a similar result to suspending yourself in a “fight or flight” state. Your body is constantly keyed up to do something. This is good for short bursts, but no one is meant to function in that state the entire time. It wears you out quickly. What makes this even worse are that stress hormones tend to have a direct impact on the body that leads to minimizing gains from healthy habits and overall degrading the body continuously. You have to learn to work against it. This means figuring out when you need to take breaks each day and when is a good time to use those vacation days for a larger scale break. Remember to spend time doing the things you love and with the people you love too. Listening to them and to your body and mind will help you to figure out when you need to take those breaks.
Maintaining our heart health is a complex issue. There are plenty of factors that are out of our control and hiding in our genetics. That’s not an excuse to avoid trying to do something beneficial for ourselves though. It should be motivation to do all that we can to work against any less than beneficial traits hiding from us and working all the harder to maintain our long term health. It takes a commitment to make it work. Fortunately, you have your doctor and the people close to you to help motivate you to take better care of your heart and the rest of you.