If you are concerned about your heart’s health, whether you have a history of heart disease, have been diagnosed with precursors to the disease or simply want to maintain a healthy heart, there are some things you should do every day.
In honor of World Heart Day on Sept. 29, here are four things you can do every day to improve your heart’s health.
1. Eat healthy foods
The food you eat has significant bearing on your heart’s health. Eating foods high in sugar adds stress on your heart. Additionally, salty foods raise your blood pressure, and saturated fats clog your arteries. Eating these foods can cause your heart to work harder to send blood to important areas of your body, weakening your heart and damaging your body as a whole.
If you eat heart healthy foods, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats from vegetables, nuts and olives, as well as reduce your sugar and salt intake, you will give your heart the best chance at being healthy.
2. Exercise daily
Just like any muscle in your body, your heart needs to be trained to perform at its peak level. This is done through cardiovascular exercises like walking, running, swimming and biking.
If you don't have an exercise regimen, starting one may seem overwhelming. However, performing daily cardiovascular exercises, even just 10 minutes a day, allows your heart to pump blood throughout your body with greater efficiency and ease than if you are sedentary.
3. Keep moving
While daily exercise is critical to your heart’s health, don't count it as your sole movement for the day.
In fact, research suggests staying seated for long periods of time is bad for your health, no matter how much exercise you do. If you work an office job that requires you to sit, try switching your chair out for an exercise ball, or make it a point to stand up and move a few times an hour to keep your heart pumping at a healthy rate.
Sleep is crucial to health, but fitting in enough hours can be difficult, especially when the stress of the day makes it hard to wind down.
Work on slowing down and relaxing as bedtime draws close. Getting a healthy amount of shut-eye each day has been found to improve your heart’s health, and it doesn’t hurt to let the rest of your body have that time to recharge.
For more tips on how to live a heart healthy life, visit mayoclinic.org.