Your heart is the engine that sustains your body, mind, and soul. It takes about a minute for your six or so quarts of blood to make the round trip to your heart. That’s about 2000 gallons a day! As we age, it can begin to lose the stunning beat it once had, having to work harder over time, and affecting the health of our brains, our feet, and everything in between. So, how can we show our hearts some love?
To Sleep, Perchance to Dream…of a Healthy Heart
Make sleep a priority. Getting enough quality sleep isn’t just important for energy (and beauty), it can be critical to cardiovascular health. Most adults need about seven hours a night. During normal sleep, our blood pressure goes down. That’s good! Lack of sleep can cause stress and anxiety. Lack of oxygen from sleep apnea can increase your risk for heart attack and stroke. That’s bad! Here are a few things to try if you have a hard time falling to sleep at night: get as much natural light as possible during the day, it helps to reset your body clock. Exercise is always part of a healthy lifestyle but try to avoid strenuous workouts too close to bedtime. Tune out! Limit that bedtime screen time or use a blue light filter on your phone or tablet. Skip that bedtime snack; fatty and high-sugar foods and alcohol late in the evening can mean you will be watching the clock in the wee hours. And finally, make like a bear and keep your bedroom cool and dark and enjoy a solid night of hibernation!
Being a Quitter is Good… Sometimes
Remember that one-minute round trip our blood gets, courtesy of our heart? Well, when you smoke, you are not getting as much of the replenishing oxygen that goes along for the ride. Smoking raises triglycerides, lowers your good cholesterol and makes your blood more likely to stick and clot, which blocks blood flow. Too boot, it weakens and narrows the blood vessels – all sort of a one-two punch to the heart. Quitting can be tough. Talk to your health care provider. There are many methods and medications available that can make quitting easier. Even if you fail the first, second, or third time, keep trying! You will feel great. Be in your heart’s corner! Your ticker will thank and reward you for it. And, your clothes will smell better.
Dance Like No One’s Watching
Who has time for exercise? Where do I start? Gym memberships are expensive, and gyms are intimidating! Don’t stress! (See above, it’s bad for your heart.) it can be as simple as committing to taking a walk or skipping the elevator and taking the stairs. Find something you enjoy doing will help you to stay motivated. It doesn’t have to be heavyweights and treadmills. Water aerobics? Chair yoga? Tai Chi? Phone a friend and walk to the coffee shop. (Skip the whipped cream cappuccino though!) What about dancing? Studies show that busting a move can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and can reduce stress levels that can lead to other possible heart-related diseases. Crank the tunes and get down and boogie! Even if it’s right there in your living room! Your heart could use a partner and it will even let you lead!
Start each day with a grateful (and healthy) heart!
Got a heart tip for us? Got questions? Feel free to Contact Assurance Homecare.