Improving your heart health is key to achieving great health. Thankfully, many of the same lifestyle changes that help your heart also help you meet your overall goals!
Heart health is often a mainstream topic in healthcare. And rightly so! Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women, causing one in four male deaths and one in five female deaths a year. That’s why, in the quest to be the best, healthiest version of yourself, learning how to improve your heart health and taking care of your heart should be a top priority.
Thankfully, your local AlignLife Chiropractic and Natural Health Center can help with that! Here are some of our top heart-healthy tips that can help women and men improve their heart health by managing the risk of developing heart diseases and heart health issues in the future. You’ll be surprised how quickly these small lifestyle changes can ultimately make a big impact on how your body feels and functions.
In this article
#1: Don’t smoke
Men and women who smoke are twice as likely to suffer from a heart attack as those who don’t smoke. Exposure to secondhand smoke can also damage your blood vessels and increase your risk of heart conditions. The bottom line on smoking? If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, talk to your healthcare provider about some natural remedies like acupuncture or hypnotherapy to help you stop smoking. And lastly, if you’re frequently around someone who smokes, look for ways to minimize your exposure by staying in well-ventilated areas. You can also encourage them to quit smoking and support them in their journey.
#2: Aim for a healthy weight
Carrying added weight around not only affects your joints and spine health, but it also affects your overall heart health. The good news is that losing just a few pounds can lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of diabetes. However, even if your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar numbers seem to be in check, don’t fall into the trap of thinking those added pounds aren’t hurting you long term or that “everything is OK.” This recent John Hopkins study found that “excess weight was more than an ‘accomplice’ in the development of heart problem… the pounds themselves can be causing silent damage to your heart muscle.” Talk to your AlignLife Chiropractor or healthcare provider about what weight is best for you, your body type, and activity level, and what you can do to safely drop the pounds for long-term heart health.
#3: Get moving
Simply being active can also help your heart health. At the very least, you should aim for 150 minutes of moderate activity a week, but you’ll realize even more heart health benefits by being active at around 300 minutes (or 5 hours) per week. Below are some examples of moderate and vigorous activities you can choose from to get started, but whatever activity and intensity level you choose, try to get your heart rate up so you can maximize and improve your cardiorespiratory fitness. A good way to know the intensity of your workout is to know and track your target heart rate. You’ll also notice that some of these activities don’t have anything to do with the gym.
Examples of moderate-aerobic activity
(heart rate is up, breathing is harder than normal, still able to talk)
- Brisk walking (at least 2.5 mph)
- Sweeping the floor
- Washing windows
- Water aerobics
- Slower dancing
- Biking (10 mph or under)
- Shooting a basketball
- Leisurely hiking
Examples of vigorous-aerobic activity
(heart rate is up, you begin to sweat, won’t be able to talk without getting out of breath)
#4: Eat for heart health
Making sure you’re eating a heart-healthy diet also helps prevent heart disease in the long run. So what does that look like? A good guideline to follow is to cut back on foods high in salt, cholesterol, and saturated fats and swap them out for more heart-healthy choices. Some examples of heart-healthy foods include more whole grains, a variety of fruits and vegetables, low-fat or no-fat dairy products, and more lean meats or plant-based proteins like chickpeas, black beans, and lentils. If you have trouble getting enough fruits and vegetables in your diet, check out Absolute Greens from Aceva for a daily dose of fruits and veggies in just one scoop.
#5: Reduce your stress
Stress also has a clear link to heart disease in women. Considering the American Psychological Association’s “Stress in America” survey found that women are consistently more likely to report higher stress levels than men, this is an important factor to take note of. Long-term stress exposure increases the levels of cortisol in your body. It can also cause your arteries to tighten, which can increase your risk of heart disease. Some techniques to help you manage stress include working out, practicing meditation, deep breathing or yoga, or getting out to relax and be social with friends.
Read this article for even more ways to ease your stress: 7 Ways to Ease Stress & Anxiety at Home
#6: Limit your alcohol
If you drink, try not to drink excessively. A good guideline to follow is no more than one drink daily for women or two drinks daily for men. It’s also important to note that a “drink” may not be what you think. A drink of beer is about 12 ounces. A drink of wine is about 4 ounces. And a drink of 80-proof spirits is just 1.5 ounces.
#7: Know your numbers
Knowing your numbers is an important way to keep track of and measure your heart health. The reason for this is that too-high blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar have few if any symptoms at first. That means the only way to know your levels is to have them checked at least annually. Below are four key numbers everyone should know.
#8: Close nutrition gaps
Giving your body the right nutrients can also help you improve your heart health. To help you find out which nutrients your body may be deficient in, talk to your AlignLife chiropractor or health practitioner about functional nutrition and lab testing.
You can also try out Aceva’s Heart Care Bundle. This powerful trio is a great foundation for helping improve your overall cardiovascular health. CT-Reg features ingredients that have been shown to significantly improve many lipid markers (cholesterol, LDL HDL, triglycerides, fasting blood sugar, Hg-A1C, and fasting glucose). CoQ10 uses the highest absorbable form of ubiquinol and helps protect the arterial system by supporting your body’s cellular energy production. And, Omega 3 Plus helps you combat inflammation, reduce triglycerides, slow the buildup of plaque, and help lower your blood pressure.