We all know the heart is vital for our survival. Cardiovascular diseases are one of the biggest causes of death around the world. The critical part is to keep these diseases at bay by taking good care of our heart. The heart is a muscle. Therefore it needs attention like every other muscle. Also, the heart has an intimate relationship with the nervous system. So our emotions also play a significant role in our heart health.
Dos and don’ts for a healthy heart are always in our minds. But most of us struggle with creating a routine involving these healthy heart habits. These regimens can enable you to be more active and productive. In this blog, let us create a recipe for a healthy heart that is easy to adopt.
How can we keep our heart healthy?
- Set exercise goals
Many of us feel one needs to be a runner or gym freak to excel in heart-healthy exercises. But it is not correct.
You can start with setting a goal. A goal can be 30-45 minutes of brisk walking five days a week with your partner or daily swimming with the family. Always try to change your exercise regimen until and unless you find your favorite exercise.
It can be Zumba or cycling, or uphill hiking. According to the American Heart Association, at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week is necessary to keep your heart healthy. If you are fond of vigorous exercises like running, swimming, or cycling, 75 minutes of exercise schedule is sufficient for you. So, tune in to some music, indulge yourself in your favorite activity and enjoy a happy life with a healthy heart.
- A Mediterranean-style diet
It is not easy to maintain a restrictive dietary regimen. The best way to have a healthy diet is to guide yourself gradually to a plant and fish-based diet. You can limit the intake of red meat to once in two weeks. Make a diet plan that uses olive oil, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish, and whole grains as staples. It is okay to have your favorite fries and pizzas once in a while. They can be your cheat meals after achieving your diet goals. This healthy eating pattern may prevent various cardiovascular diseases, promote healthy aging, and improve quality of life.
- Healthy sleep is an asset
One should aim for at least six hours of sleep daily. According to various studies, too much or too little sleep can impact your heart health. People with less than six hours of sleep are at a higher risk of a heart attack. Alternatively, people who love staying in bed for more than 9 hours per night are at a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases. Though it is impossible to get a daily 6-hour sleep but creating a sleep schedule can be of great help. A sound sleep decreases your heart rate and blood pressure. Try to create a peaceful ambiance in your bedroom for better sleep quality. Also, avoid any gadgets before crashing into bed.
You don’t need to be a pro to start meditation. Start with baby steps. Your initial meditation session can be around five minutes. You can gradually increase the duration. Many apps are there that can help you in meditation. Try to score twenty minutes of focussed meditation time every day. If sitting in one place is not your cup of tea, you can try meditating while cooking, walking, or bathing.
- Your teeth’s health is also crucial
Talking about healthy teeth during a heart disease discussion seems surprising. But a study showed that people who brush less than two times a day with less than two minutes of brushing are at a higher risk of developing heart disease. Periodontitis (gum disease) and poor dental health increase the risk of bacterial infection in the blood, which increases your risk of heart valve diseases and cardiovascular conditions. So next time you brush your teeth, you are not only helping your teeth but your heart.
The above lifestyle tips can protect you from heart diseases. These lifestyle tips do not involve medications. We can avert the most incidences of CVDs, including coronary artery diseases, heart attack, or heart failure, by adopting these healthy lifestyle habits.
Dr. Anand Pandey, Director & Senior – Cardiology, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Delhi