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4 tips to stay heart healthy

When it comes to your body, your heart is like the control room. What you put into keeping it healthy and safe leads to how you feel and look, and what you do. Take care of your heart, and it will take care of you. Heart diseases affect nearly half of all Americans, so take this Heart Month to make some minor changes to prioritize your heart’s well-being.


1. Eat Healthy 

Pack your diet with natural superfoods like nutrient and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies are packed with minerals and vitamins not available in highly-processed foods that can help you maintain a healthy gut as well as a stable weight. While the food you consume is important, so is your water intake. There are a few different schools of thought on water consumption. Regardless of what you read, water is a necessity, so you should aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses a day, and up to half your body weight in ounces.


2. Notice Changes

It’s always a good idea to listen and understand your body. If you’re feeling tired, it’s likely you’ll go to sleep earlier (we’ll talk more about sleep later). And, if you’re hungry, you’ll probably eat more or sooner than normal. But, there are other, more apparent changes that may be symptoms of more serious issues. For example, changes such as chest pain, or shortness of breath can be early signs of heart problems. Visible changes like hair loss could also be a sign you’re experiencing heart-related complications, as poor blood flow can cut nutrients to hair roots. But, it might not necessarily be cause for panic, yet. If you experience hair loss along with the above-mentioned symptoms, it may be time to speak with your doctor, but if not, it may simply be caused by common issues like male pattern baldness, or stress. If you continue experiencing changes in how you normally feel, or have concerns about symptoms, take a blood pressure test or call your doctor to discuss further.


3. Get Your Sleep

We’ve heard our whole lives how important sleep is. What we may not have thought, though, is the role sleep plays in our heart health. Steady periods of sleep allow your body to relax and recharge, lowering your blood pressure and heart rate. A healthy sleep pattern can also help your immune system and weight control, all issues that, if not taken care of, can lead to heart complications. A good baseline is 7-9 hours of sleep a night; anything less than that minimum over an extended period of time may plague your overall health.


4. Stay Active

You don’t need to run a marathon or lift like an Olympian to build heart health through exercise. Exercise helps increase your heart rate and lower blood pressure by promoting circulation through your body. Just over 20 minutes of moderate exercise a day for adults can help protect your heart and strengthen your body. From cardio to strength training, finding exercise that is challenging, yet enjoyable is the key to making strides physically.


Combining a healthy diet with tweaked lifestyle changes can go a long way to protecting yourself from heart-related issues. If exercise is a challenge for you, then have a friend join you on your fitness endeavors or talk to the trainer at your local gym for motivation. Regardless of how you go about these activities, remember your well-being is of the highest priority and, although you may not be able to see the benefits, your heart will thank you in the long-run.

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