It’s that time of year…time to reflect on what this year has meant to us and put things in place for a better future.
But have you thought about the future of your most crucial body parts? Working on your physical health now can lead to great payoffs in years to come. Luckily, when it comes to heart safety, many of the disease prevention steps you can take will also help you live a healthier and happier life in general.
Get Healthy While Having Fun
Exercise is a great way to be good to your heart—so get moving! Even taking time to dance around and go on long walks can help.
Moving around will help exercise your heart muscles and keep your blood vessels in great shape. Try to choose something you enjoy doing rather than push yourself toward an activity you won’t be able to sustain. Consistency is key here.
Worry-Free Pain Relief
When you’re having a headache or an achy back, your first thought might be to reach for the painkillers you have in your home. But if you’re looking out for your heart health (if, for example, you have a heart condition), you should know that some painkillers carry more heart risks than others.
NSAIDs, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are some of the most popular kinds of pain medication out there—think aspirin, Advil, Motrin, and Aleve. But they can also raise your blood pressure, putting you at a higher risk of a heart emergency. Talk to your doctor to figure out what painkillers are safest for you to use.
For example, you might be able to use ibuprofen (Tylenol) for pain relief instead. And you might actually be taking aspirin to prevent heart attack and stroke, in which case your doctor can help you figure out the right dosage.
Habits to Think About
Do you smoke? If you drink, how much and how often do you do it?
These activities won’t doom you to a life of heart disease, but they can certainly increase your risk. In fact, smoking causes one out of four deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD). Smoking can narrow your blood vessels, increase the buildup of plaque in blood vessels, and make blood more likely to clot.
And frequent drinking can lead to high blood pressure. So if you’ve been thinking of quitting smoking or cutting down on your alcohol intake, sooner is better than later.
Although many people know that smoking and drinking come with risks, they might not be aware of the full effects these habits can have on the heart. Take some time to read more about heart disease so you can take smart steps to prevent it.
A Diet Focused on Heart Safety
A heart-healthy diet has a lot of the same elements as any other health-focused diet. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, limit your fats (especially saturated fats), and lower your sodium intake.
Like all of the tips on this list, changing your diet doesn’t have to happen overnight. Talk to a doctor or nutritionist if you can, and make simple changes that build up to long-term results. For example, cooking at home more can help you monitor how much salt and fat goes into your food.
Be Good to Your Heart!
Heart safety is the gift that keeps on giving. By exercising more, managing any unhealthy habits, and making changes to your diet, you can be good to your heart and start a journey toward general wellness at the same time.
For more articles on how to live and feel better, check out the other health-related articles on this site!