In today’s love culture, news feeds and social media pages are filled with grand gestures, gifts, and of course, hearts. These can all serve as a great reminder that you can practice self-love this month and beyond by taking care of your own heart.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, heart health is the key to your overall health. So, here are a few recommendations for taking care of yours.
Many know that exercise is important for maintaining a healthy heart. The American Heart Association recommends adults fit 150 minutes of aerobic activity into their weekly routines. It is also recommended to add two days of moderate-high intensity resistance or weight training.
Aerobic exercise — like walking, running, cycling, swimming, or jumping rope — helps you to improve your circulation. Resistance training specifically affects your body’s composition, building muscle mass and reducing fat, which can greatly lower your risk for heart disease.
You can also start small with stretching. Stretching regularly for 12 weeks improves your blood flow, and decreases the stiffness of your arteries. A stretching routine also decreases blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
A diet does not have to mean having strict rules on your daily food intake. Instead, focus on just these three tips: incorporating more fiber into your diet, eating less saturated fats, and cutting down on sodium. Many different superfoods are extremely beneficial to your heart — like beets, olives and olive oils, and salmon. Including even some of these into your regular meal plan can give amazing benefits to your overall health.
In today’s society, it is incredibly difficult to live completely stress-free. However, both acute and chronic stress can cause an irregular heart rate, or reduce blood flow to the heart. Take the time and effort to manage your stress by keeping a routine, regularly socializing, and practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing. These can all greatly reduce the negative impact of stress on your heart’s health.
Since the mid 1990s, many studies have shown links between isolation and loneliness with cardiovascular issues. Heart attack survivors often experience self-isolation and stress, leading to a shorter lifespan. Along with this, seniors with no emotional connection have triple the risk of a fatal heart attack.
Research has also shown that there are possible health benefits to human-to-animal interactions. Connecting with animals can decrease cortisol levels and blood pressure, reduce feelings of loneliness, and increase feelings of social support — improving your mood overall.
While laughter may not actually be the best medicine for all the problems out there, it is very effective in maintaining your overall health. In the short-term, laughter can help you to soothe tension, relieve stress, stimulate multiple organs, as well as relax your arteries, which allows for easier blood flow. Long-term benefits of laughter include a boost to your immune system, an improved mood, and pain relief.
At United Physicians Group, our patients are at the heart of everything that we do. Our mission is to improve the overall health of our patients by providing a comfortable and informative experience to keep their hearts and bodies healthy. To schedule an appointment, visit our website or call us at 833-523-0906.