Lots of work goes into keeping your heart healthy—but, it is worth it to live a long and healthy life. Especially if you are at higher risk of heart disease because of another chronic disease or family history, it is important to start making the small changes that can help protect you against heart disease. What better day to try a few heart-healthy to-do’s than today, on World Heart Day?
- Go for a walk. Health benefits of exercise start at just ten minutes per day. Work your way up to walking 30 minutes three to five days per week—if walking’s not your thing, find something that is! Exercise helps by making each pump of your heart propel more blood through your body—meaning your heart has to beat fewer times to get the job done! (This is why pro athletes usually have low resting heart rates!)
- Refresh your Food Pyramid/My Plate knowledge. Understanding what kinds of foods your body needs, and how much is in a serving, is important to maintaining your health. If you have specific dietary concerns, visit a dietitian. Consume fewer fried or fatty foods, and more fruits and vegetables.
- Take time for yourself. Stress isn’t clearly understood in its role in heart disease , but taking time for yourself to relax and unwind can certainly help you prioritize what is most important for your health. Taking time to relax each day—and not just at bedtime!—might be important in reducing your risk of heart disease.
- Spend time with a pet. As we shared before, pets—like dogs and cats—can have a lowering effect on blood pressure and heart rate, helping to keep your heart healthy.
- Listen to music. There’s a reason music therapy exists! Research from Harvard indicates that music may help you to de-stress, and could actually lower blood pressure a tad.