It’s never too early or too late to adopt heart-healthy habits. Heart disease is largely preventable, and you don’t have to make radical changes. In fact, it’s best to make practical, gradual changes that you can incorporate into your lifestyle without a lot of hassle. This way, you’re more likely to stick to it.
Cardiovascular physician Dr. Majed Chane, and the rest of the team at CA Heart and Vein Specialists in Huntington Beach, California, are ready to help you in the fight against heart disease. Regardless of where you are on your journey to heart health, our team can help you keep your heart as healthy and strong as possible.
In this post, we’ve put together a few practical habits you can start today to improve your heart health. Let’s dive into the best places to start!
Sit less and move more
If you have a habit of being a couch potato, now is as good a time as any to get moving. Physical activity is an important step toward better heart health. It’s one of your most powerful weapons for strengthening the heart muscle, controlling your weight, and preventing damage to your arteries.
Aerobic exercise and resistance training are excellent forms of physical activity for heart health. Aerobic exercise promotes circulation, which lowers your blood pressure and heart rate. Furthermore, it improves how well your heart pumps. Some ideas for aerobic activity include brisk walking, jogging, and swimming.
Resistance training increases lean muscle and shrinks body fat, improving body composition. Ideally, you establish a routine with a combination of aerobic and resistance training. Aim for at least two nonconsecutive days of resistance exercise per week and at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five days a week.
Start adding before taking away
Cutting out unhealthy foods right away is often the first instinct when patients want to adopt heart-healthy habits. However, this approach often leads to feeling deprived and is less likely to result in long-term change.
A better approach is to first start adding in more foods that benefit your heart, like an additional cup or two of vegetables each day and more fruit. As you do so, gradually cut back on foods that are high in saturated fat, added sugar, and salt.
This is a more sustainable way to adopt a heart-healthy diet.
Choose healthier options when dining out
You don’t have to give up dining out when your goal is to boost your heart health. Instead, choose healthier options. For example, opt for a veggie bowl over a burrito. Choose steamed, broiled, baked, roasted, or poached foods over fried items.
Select options without butter, gravy, or creamy sauces, choose a salad dressing with fewer calories, and stick to sugar-free beverages such as unsweetened tea. Once you have the hang of spotting healthier options, it’ll be a breeze to dine out without compromising your goal of boosting your heart health.
Get enough sleep
Skimping on sleep is bad for your overall health, including your heart health. Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Unfortunately, one in every three Americans fails to get adequate sleep — and this is bad news for your heart.
Lack of sleep is linked to a heightened risk of heart disease and stroke. One explanation for this is that when you don’t get enough sleep, your stress hormones increase, as does your blood pressure.
This can result in a variety of issues such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and obesity. Practice good sleep hygiene. Aim to get to bed and wake up at the same time each day, and wind down by turning off bright lights and mobile devices an hour ahead of bedtime.
The team at CA Heart and Vein Specialists has your back when it comes to your heart health. For top-quality cardiovascular care, call 657-206-8491 to schedule a visit with Dr. Chane, or request an appointment online.