As one of your vital organs, your heart does a lot for you every day. In our modern society structured by processed foods, a sedentary lifestyle and an epidemic of chronic diseases, many of our daily choices are a far cry from being healthy. Isn’t it time we show our hearts some love? We’ve got four simple tips to help you love your heart even more!
Simple Tips to Love Your Heart
The heart is a remarkable organ, beating about 100,000 times and pumping about 2,000 gallons of blood through the body per day. Without this life-sustaining center of the cardiovascular system, you wouldn’t be alive. Every system of the body depends on the oxygen supplied by the blood that the heart works tirelessly to pump throughout your body every day for your entire life. No vacations, weekends or paid leave for this workhorse.
Also, energetically the heart is also said to be the center of our emotions, including the love we feel toward those with whom we have our closest relationships. So, how do we show our heart our appreciation? Taking care of our bodies to keep our hearts healthy is a great place to begin.
Get moving, get outside and exercise
Our hearts pump blood throughout our entire body to supply oxygen, and exercise can help the cardiovascular system become more efficient. The American Heart Association currently recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. If it has been awhile since you’ve made it to the gym or hit the pavement running, work up to a full workout slowly.
Walking or swimming are gentle ways to improve your cardiovascular functioning while transitioning you into an exercise routine. Even better, join a Hancock Wellness Center, where we have exercise specialists and personal trainers on hand who can work with you to build an exercise regimen to meet your needs. Our Physician Referral Network and myriad clinical programs are another great opportunity for those with high risk factors to exercise safely in our Medical Fitness Association–certified wellness centers.
Quit smoking already
We all know that smoking is unhealthy for the lungs, but it can also be devastating to the cardiovascular system. In fact, smokers have a higher chance of developing buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries, which can lead to heart disease and stroke. If you are ready to kick smoking to the curb, you can sign up for Hancock Regional Hospital’s free Commit to Quit tobacco-cessation program so that you can find the support you need and get back on track toward wellness.
Control blood pressure and cholesterol
High blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels are some of the easiest-to-identify risks when it comes to heart disease. If left untreated, high blood pressure can cause artery, heart and organ damage, earning its name of “the silent killer.” When LDL (bad) cholesterol circulates in your blood stream, it causes a buildup of plaque in the arteries, increasing your risk of coronary heart disease. Working with your doctor to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol within healthy limits will reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
Maintaining a healthy diet is another great way to ensure your overall well-being, especially when it comes to the health of your cardiovascular system. Make sure that seasonal vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean proteins comprise the largest portion of your diet. Stay away from fried, fatty and fast foods that offer little to no nutritional value while contributing to high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. Hydration is also important, but make sure to stay away from sugary beverages like soda and juice, which contribute to obesity and diabetes, both of which are risk factors in developing heart disease. Instead, opt for water, sparkling water or herbal tea.
It isn’t always easy to make healthy choices when it comes to our heart. The important thing is to start small, choosing one or two things to change now, and set goals that can create healthier habits. Your heart does a lot for you, so show this vital organ some love this month by moving more, quitting tobacco use, eating well and keeping risk factors in check.