The heart is one of the most important parts of the body, and one that needs to be taken care of in order to maintain good health and prevent harmful medical conditions like heart disease, heart attack, blood clots, and stroke. When patients at our Costa Mesa medical clinic ask what they can do to keep their hearts healthy, here are some of the little things we suggest that promote heart health:
- Do some abdominal exercises – While you don’t have to be super skinny to keep your heart healthy, studies have found a link between extra belly weight and heart health. Carrying extra pounds in your gut can negatively impact your blood pressure and your blood lipid count, and cause damage to your heart from the strain of carrying around all that extra weight. Doing sit-ups and other exercises that work the abdomen can shed some of those extra pounds, and make your heart healthier.
- Reduce stress – Stress isn’t just bad for your mood; it’s bad for your heart, as well. When you’re stressed out, your heart beats faster and harder, putting extra strain on the muscle and raising your blood pressure. When you feel yourself getting stressed out, don’t ignore your feelings. Take a break from whatever is causing you stress, take deep breaths, and try to relax. Your heart will thank you.
- Use your hands – A great way to help manage stress (and heart health) is to take up activities where you use your hands. Knitting, crocheting, and even jigsaw puzzles have been found to reduce stress levels and help keep your heart healthy.
- Improve your diet – While a juicy burger with lots of fries is a nice treat every once in a while, it’s important to eat balanced meals as often as possible. When you don’t eat your fruits and veggies, or consume too much junk food or fatty meals, it can have a big impact on your heart health (and not in a good way). If you’re not sure what your target nutritional numbers should be, ask your doctor; he or she can help you plan a better diet to keep your heart running strong for years to come.
- Dance – Not all exercise has to be the kind you get at the gym. Dancing burns calories, strengthens muscles, and otherwise improves heart health just like any other physical activity. If weightlifting and marathon running isn’t your thing, try taking dance classes instead.
- Get romantic – In case you needed another reason to get romantic with your partner as often as possible, sexual activity has been found to lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease.
- Laugh – Laughter may be good for the soul, but it’s also good for the heart. Laughing out loud has been found to reduce stress and promote healthy blood flow. The more you laugh, the healthier your heart is likely to be.
- Have a drink – Heavy alcohol consumption may be bad for the body, but having a glass or two every so often is actually good for your heart. Moderate alcohol consumption raises HDL (aka “good cholesterol”), reduces blood clots, and helps prevent damage to the arteries. Raise a glass to your healthy heart!
For more health tips, or to speak with a medical professional about your heart health, call us today at 949-548-8400.