5 Tips for a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle

5 tips for a heart healthy lifestyle - red heart, blue background, with stethoscope

February is American Heart Month, a time to focus on our cardiovascular health.

The health of your heart is more important than ever this year. Not only is heart disease a leading cause of death in the United Sates, but people suffering from cardiovascular conditions are also at an increased risk of suffering severe illness from COVID-19.
But here’s the good news: there are some simple lifestyle choices you can make that will help you build a stronger, healthier heart and drastically reduce your risk of heart disease.
Here are 5 ways you can build a heart-healthy lifestyle:

1. Exercise

When it comes to your heart, aerobic activities are the best exercise you can get. That means running, swimming, cycling—anything that gets your heart and lungs pumping.
Aerobic exercise helps your sympathetic nervous system, which controls your heart rate and blood pressure. Not only will this protect you from heart disease, it also helps prevent dementia and depression.
According to the American Heart Association, you should try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, but don’t let yourself fall into an all-or-nothing mentality. Even light-intensity activities like a walk around your block can benefit your heart in a huge way.

2. Nutrition

 A heart-healthy diet should contain a food from all the basic food groups: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy and meat. If you’re a vegetarian, nuts, legumes and soy products are great alternative source of protein.

Foods rich in monosaturated and polysaturated fans have been proven to improve blood cholesterol levels. This includes things like:
  • Salmon and trout
  • Avocados
  • Tofu
  • Nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, and pine nuts
  • Seeds, such as sesame, sunflower, and flax
You also want to limit your intake of sodium, saturated and trans fats, sugar, and alcohol. It’s not always obvious which foods contain these ingredients, so read the food labels when you’re buying groceries.
Look for low-sodium or no-salt-added products, low-fat dairy products, and choose fresh, skinless meats over pre-seasoned and processed products.

3. Weight Management

 It’s important to remember that weight management is not the same thing as weight loss. Obesity puts you at a significantly higher risk for heart disease, as well as other conditions like type 2 diabetes, gallstones, and certain cancers—but being underweight comes with its own set of heart health risks.

The best way to determine if you’re at a healthy weight is by measuring your BMI (Body Mass Index). For the average adult, a healthy heart comes with a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9.
If you’re looking for help managing your weight, smart scales like KoreScale can measure your BMI automatically, and have the added benefit of breaking your weight down into muscle, fat, bone, and water. These measurements can be extremely helpful in making adjustments to your diet and exercise routine.

4. Health Monitoring

 Your body will give off warning signs when your heart is at risk. If you feel a sudden pain in your chest, lightheadedness, or shortness of breath, you should seek medical attention immediately.

However, there are some factors that don’t have obvious symptoms, which is why it’s important to monitor your body’s vital signs regularly, even if you feel fine. In particular, it’s a good idea to keep tabs on your heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol.

As an adult, you should have a family doctor you see for annual checkups to get tested for heart disease risk factors. Spotting the warning signs early is the best way to prevent a major incident like a heart attack or stroke.
You can monitor some of these factors on your own with a smart tracker like KoreTrak Pro. With 24/7 monitoring of vital signs like heart rate and blood pressure, KoreTrak Pro can help you stay on top of your heart health in between visits to the doctor.

5. Quality Sleep

Sleep is crucial for your mental and physical health. When you turn out the lights at night, your body goes into repair mode and your heart gets a much-needed break.
It isn’t just quantity that’s important, it’s quality. If you go long enough without deep sleep, your immune system gets suppressed and your risk of heart disease rises substantially.
Here are some simple steps you can take to get a better night’s sleep:

 

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
  • Keep your sleeping area and living space separate
  • Try not to use your phone or watch TV late at night
  • Avoid heavy meals or alcohol right before bed

If you want to find out how much quality sleep you’re getting, KoreTrak Pro comes pre-installed with a sleep analyzer. It will show you exactly how much deep and light sleep your getting every night, which will help you make heart-healthy adjustments to your sleep habits.

 

 

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