Surprising Ways to Help Your Heart
February is American Heart Month. Below are a few tips that can help your heart health and can easily be incorporated into your everyday routine. If you would like more information about Olathe Health System's advanced cardiac care, click here.
It relaxes the lining of blood vessel walls and increases blood flow. Laughter can also lift your mood and relieve stress.
Not getting enough quality sleep can increase your risk for high blood pressure and heart disease. It can also increase stress and depression, both of which can take a toll on your heart. How much sleep you need varies from person to person. While there is no magic number, seven to nine hours of sleep a night is a good target for most adults.
(Dark chocolate, of course.) The flavonoids and antioxidants it contains help the body (and the heart) to fight damage from free radicals and toxins. Moderation is key, and if you are overweight or at risk for diabetes, you may want to avoid the extra sugar and calories. You can also increase your antioxidants in other ways. Try blueberries, cranberries, almonds, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, citrus fruits or tea.
DANCE, JUMP ROPE OR WALK YOUR DOG
Exercise is vital to a healthy heart. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate activity a day. Don't have 30 minutes? Break it up into three 10-minute periods of activity; it's almost as beneficial to your overall fitness and can be easier to fit into a busy schedule.
KNIT A SCARF OR PRACTICE YOGA
Activities that help you to de-stress and lower blood pressure can have serious heart benefits. Yoga, for example, can improve respiratory function and heart rate and boost circulation. Calming activities like knitting can help lower anxiety and stress and reduce tension.Laughing relaxes the lining of blood vessel walls and increases blood flow while lifting your mood and relieving stress.
Sources: US Department of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association