Many of us know that healthy eating, regular exercise and other habits are key for overall cardiovascular health, but with the prevalence of heart disease and other health conditions continuing to rise, it’s important to know what being healthy really entails. These five habits can improve your cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of heart disease and other health conditions.
1. Get Moving
Exercise strengthens the heart and lungs so they can better supply the body with oxygen-rich blood. Aim to get at least two and a half hours of moderate aerobic activity or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, as recommended by the American Heart Association. Brisk walking, jogging, swimming and cycling are good choices.
2. Eat Healthy
A well-balanced diet is an important part of cardiovascular health. Choose low-fat sources of protein, such as lean meats, fish, and organic, cage-free eggs. Increase your intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and legumes. All of the complex carbohydrates found in these foods are rich in fiber and help reduce cholesterol levels. Limit saturated fat and processed foods.
3. Avoid Tobacco
Smoking and other forms of tobacco can damage the cardiovascular system and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. If you smoke, make an effort to quit. The American Heart Association recommends talking to a quitline if you need help.
4. Monitor Your Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Regularly
High blood pressure and cholesterol can damage the arteries and lead to heart disease and other health problems. Regular check-ups and screenings can help you monitor your levels and alert you to any potential problems.
5. Reduce Stress
Stress and anxiety can lead to high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease. Take some time each day to relax and unwind. Yoga, meditation, and deep breathing can all help reduce stress.