A healthy heart can help you live a longer, fuller life. Getting older doesn’t have to mean your heart won’t function properly. You keep your heart strong and even boost your heart’s strength when you exercise regularly. It’s never too late to start working out, either. Even people who have had a heart attack benefit from regular exercise. Of course, you need to follow your doctor’s orders and begin slowly, especially if you are out of shape. In most cases, no matter what your health condition, most physicians are pleased when patients want to start exercising, but definitely find out first from the doctor.
Just like your biceps, your heart gets stronger with exercise.
Not only does the heart get stronger when you workout, it gets more efficient. Exercise also boosts circulation to the heart and helps improve the dilation of the arteries that provide blood to the heart. It lowers blood pressure the longer you do it, since it causes other blood vessels in the body to dilate. High blood pressure can cause heart disease. The longer you exercise the better you heart muscle can get oxygen from the blood and the more controlled the sympathetic nervous system is
There’s no doubt about it, what you eat makes a huge difference in your heart health. Most people initially think of cutting out salt when they first learn they have to make dietary changes. They’re right for thinking so. Salt contains sodium and high levels of sodium in your body increase your risk for heart disease, as well as other problems, like stroke. Cutting out processed foods and boosting your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables is a start on heart healthy eating.
Don’t forget heart healthy fats.
Certain types of fat are actually heart-healthy. For instance, not only does butter from grass-fed cows contain higher amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin K-2 than butter from grain fed counterparts. It contains the fatty acid CLA—conjugated linoleic acid—which can help you lose weight and is, just like the Omega-3 and K2, extremely heart healthy. K-2 rids the arteries of calcium, lowering the risk of osteoporosis, too. Butter also contains saturated fat. Don’t freak out. It’s all actually heart healthy. In fact, newer studies show that eating butter from grass-fed cows can actually boost heart health.
- Cut out processed sugar. Sugar not only adds to your body weight and causes obesity that can damage the heart, it also increases inflammation, diabetes and creates other health issues that affect the heart.
- Don’t sit too long. You need to move about five minutes for every fifty minutes you’re sitting. If you have to, set a timer to fifty minutes and get up and move around when it dings. It could be as simple as jogging in place or running up and down the stairs.
- Try HIIT—high intensity interval training. HIIT is proven to get your heart healthier quicker. It involves doing an exercise for a few minutes at the top intensity, then cutting back to a recovery intensity for the same length of time or longer and going back to high intensity again.
- Take a chill pill. Find a way to cope with daily stresses that you can use on the spot, like breathing exercises. Working out helps eliminate the hormones of stress, but dealing with it quickly can prevent the problem.