As your body’s life support, the heart is important on so many levels. That said, it is also vulnerable to malfunctions caused by heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and more. No matter what your age, taking steps to maintain heart health should be at the top of your list.
In addition to eating a healthy and nutritious diet, there are actually quite a few lifestyle habits you can incorporate to maintain excellent heart health. Curious to know more? We share some of these habits, up ahead.
1. Floss your teeth
Believe it or not, taking care of your teeth can actually help you maintain excellent heart health. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “dental health is a good indication of overall health, including your heart, because those who have periodontal (gum) disease often have the same risk factors for heart disease.” To maintain healthy gums, they suggest brushing and flossing daily.
Another major factor when it comes to heart health? Your stress levels. Like almost all other aspects of your health, high stress can serve up major repercussions. That said, while you may not be able to decrease your workload or busy schedule, you can take small steps towards managing your everyday stress. One of our favorite ways? Meditation. Try a meditation app, such as Headspace, to help counteract common stresses.
3. Ditch the office chair
Did you hear sitting is the new smoking? It’s true. According to this article published by NBC, sitting for long periods of time — i.e. not being active — raises the risk of heart disease, diabetes, disability, and cancer. Instead of sitting down in your office chair for eight hours a day (or more), consider a stand up desk, or set a reminder to get up and move around the office every hour.
4. Avoid secondhand smoke
When it comes to bad habits, smoking is an obvious one. But, have you ever stopped to think about the serious effects secondhand smoke has on your heart health? While we understand that it’s unavoidable at times, make a conscious effort to avoid secondhand smoke whenever possible. Your heart will thank you.
5. Do something about your snoring
Does your spouse or significant other complain about your snoring? Instead of brushing it off, you may want to have your sinuses checked out. According to the American Heart Association, “one in five adults has at least mild sleep apnea, a condition that causes pauses in breathing during sleep. If not properly treated, sleep apnea can contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.” If you snore, play it safe and get tested for sleep apnea.
6. Get enough sleep
When it comes to our health, sleep is vital for so many reasons. Especially when it comes to heart health. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “if you don’t sleep enough, you may be at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease no matter your age or other health habits.” With that in mind, they suggest getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night.
7. Move your body
Exercise may be an obvious one, but it’s one of the most important ones, too. According to Harvard Medical School, “exercise and physical activity are about the closest things you have to magic bullets against heart disease and other chronic conditions.” That said, you don’t have to become a marathon runner to reap the benefits of physical activity. In fact, all you need is about 30 minutes a day. So, take your dog for a long walk, play some tennis, or ride bikes with your kids. Your body will thank you for it.