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12 Effective Ways to Improve Cardiovascular Health

Cardiovascular Health

Your heart provides oxygen and nutrients to all the tissues in your body. And keeping it healthy is the key to living a stress-free life. Do you know 33%of US adults are diagnosed with hypertension? And if left unaddressed for a long time, hypertension can increase your risk of heart strokes and even attack. But that’s not the worst part.

American Heart Association has estimated the number of deaths due to cardiovascular diseases will increase from 17.3 million to 23.6 million in 2030. These figures show that heart health has become more important now than ever. The good news is there are multiple ways to keep your heart healthy.

For some people, lifestyle changes alone will produce the best results. Others might need to watch their diet and add heart-friendly exercises to their gym sessions. In this post, we will walk you through the fastest ways to improve your cardiovascular health.

Table of Contents

Let’s check out the tips for getting a healthy heart.

Get Adequate Sleep

A good night’s sleep is essential for your physical and mental health, and of course, for keeping your heart in good shape. Adequate sleep doesn’t mean sleeping for 8-9 hours a day. The quality is more important.

Do you wake up often in the middle of the night? Do you have trouble falling asleep? Or, is your sleep cycle disturbed because of your work routine or lifestyle? Well, you need to adjust your lifestyle around your sleep cycle.

Lack of adequate sleep triggers stress, which eventually affects your heart health, making you vulnerable to hypertension and other heart diseases.

Embrace Heart Healthy Diet

Those oily potato chips, sweetened drinks, and sugar-loaded foods might sound tempting when you have hunger pangs. But they can negatively affect your heart health. A heart-healthy diet contains no or low sodium, low saturated fat, and lots of fiber.

You should limit your sodium intake to 1500 mg per day. Saturated fats can build hard plaque in your arteries. So, avoid anything that seems too greasy.

You should switch to unsaturated fats instead. Unsaturated fats are healthy fats that reduce inflammation and improve your heart health. The low-fat mayonnaise and vegetable oils are the best examples of heart-healthy food.

Also, you should increase your fiber intake. Fiber reduces bad cholesterol and promotes the feeling of fullness. Fruits and vegetables rich in healthy nutrients and low in calories are also great for your weight and heart health.

Since it’s hard to keep track of the sodium and calories in restaurant food, it’s best to eat home-cooked meals as much as possible. The best foods for heart health include fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, and low-fat and high-fiber ingredients.

Practice Controlled Breathing Exercises

Meditation reduces stress, which is one of the primary causes of heart disease. If you don’t have time for intense gym workout sessions, practice meditation daily.

A deep and slow breathing cycle has a calming effect, which de-stresses your mind and promotes the feeling of relaxation.

You should try a 4-7-8 breathing pattern, i.e., inhale for a count of 4, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and exhale on a count of 8. Practice this twice a day—before going to bed and after waking up. This will reduce your stress, thus promoting good heart health.

Practice Exercise Daily

According to the American Heart Association, you need 75 minutes of intense physical exercises and 150 minutes of medium-intensity aerobic exercises daily. For beginners, here are a few easy exercises for heart health.

  • Walking: a 20-30 minute walk daily is a great way to keep your heart healthy. It speeds up your heart rate while giving you adequate vitamin D from the sun. You can alternate fast-paced and regular-paced walking. Incline running is another way to get your daily dose of exercise for cardiovascular health.
  • Weight Training: Most people hit the gym to build their muscles and reduce their weight. But do you know lifting the dumbbells or other weight training exercises do much more than burning those calories? They are good for your heart. If lifting weights sounds too much, you can try the alternatives like push-ups, pull-ups, and squats.
  • Swimming: Swimming isn’t just for a fun afternoon. It’s a full-body workout for fitness freaks. It’s also better than those physical exercises that put excess pressure on your joints. Swimming allows excellent body movement, promoting physical fitness.
  • Cycling: Cycling has also been shown to improve your heart health by engaging your lower leg muscles, which accelerate your heart rate. It’s a good heart exercise for those who can’t practice intense workouts.

Avoid Alcohol and Smoking

Certain lifestyle changes can help improve your cardiovascular health. For instance, if you are a heavy smoker, you should take medical help to quit smoking. Likewise, you should limit the consumption of alcohol or avoid it altogether if possible.

According to research, smoking and alcohol have adverse effects on your heart health. They increase your risk of developing hypertension and triglycerides.

This, in turn, makes you vulnerable to congestive heart failure and heart strokes. Second-hand smoke is as hazardous for your heart health as regular smoking. So, if you have somebody addicted to smoking at home, ask them to quit immediately.

Maintain Your Weight

Obesity is linked to a high risk of cardiovascular problems, such as coronary heart disease and heart failure. Your weight has a significant impact on your heart health.

Therefore, eating healthy, practicing exercises and stress-management activities, and following a healthy lifestyle is important to keep your weight in check.

While gymming can help you shed those extra pounds, your diet plays a key role in managing your weight. A low-calorie and fibre-rich diet reduces your weight and improves your heart health.

Try Yoga

Yoga is an all-in-one exercise that reduces stress, blood sugar level, blood pressure, and cholesterol. People often start yoga to improve their flexibility and increase muscle strength but practicing yoga regularly can help reduce stress levels.

There’s a famous saying in India, “Yoga se hi Hoga.” Well, it isn’t just for people planning to lose weight through a less strenuous and flexible workout. But everyone (regardless of their health goal) must practice yoga to ensure fitness.

Beginners should start with the basics, such as Cobra Stretch. It improves blood circulation throughout your body and improves your heart health.

It’s a stretching exercise for your chest, abdomen, and back, thus releasing tension in your body. As mentioned above, stress is the leading cause of heart issues.

The crocodile pose, also called Makarasana, can improve your physical and mental health. It regulates your breathing pattern, as well as blood circulation.

Monitor Your Blood Pressure Regularly

Blood pressure increases your risk of heart disease. In fact, it is one of the causes of an increasing number of heart strokes. Visiting your doctor once a month for your blood pressure monitoring isn’t enough these days.

With the vast majority of people suffering from hypertension and their blood pressure fluctuating rapidly, it’s obvious that every hypertension patient needs a blood pressure monitoring machine at home.

Don’t Take Stress

Stress has become an inevitable part of our hectic lifestyles. Stress has become quite common today, whether it’s workload or relationship problems.

However, too much stress can lead to high blood pressure, which in turn, increases the risk of heart disease. Some of the tips mentioned above, namely exercising and yoga, can relieve stress to some extent.

However, nothing offers relief until you deal with the stressors. Identify the activities that trigger stress and brainstorm ideas to manage them effectively.

Get Some Fresh Air

Sitting for too long or staying all the time indoors won’t help your heart. It is not healthy for your physical and mental health either. You should go out more often.

Try hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities. You can go alone or with a bunch of friends to avoid boredom. Fresh air isn’t just important for your lungs, but going out into nature can relieve your mind from all the work stress and other tension that might increase your blood pressure or cause other heart problems.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking enough water prevents constipation, digestion issues, and other physical problems that might put excess pressure on your heart.

Water is also a great alternative to those sugary drinks, alcohol, and beverages high in calories. Instead of using soda and other heavy drinks to quench your thirst, you should stick to water. And drink enough of it every day to keep yourself fit.

Set up an Easy Routine

Low or high blood pressure is a chronic condition that stays with you forever. To manage that, you need to make changes to your routine.

The healthy changes include reducing the activities that stress your mental health or are too exhausting. Write down the list of activities and their duration in a journal so that you don’t have to juggle multiple tasks.

Conclusion

These were some easy tips on keeping your heart healthy. Remember, your diet, exercise, and mental health play key roles in maintaining your heart health.

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4 Comments

  1. This article is a lifesaver. My father went through a severe heart disease just couple of months ago. The doctor installed pacemaker and he was able to make it. He is healthy now and is living a decent life. We all should workout every day atleast for 30 mins. Cardio exercise is very important in today life style ecosystem where we are all prone to so many food options which are mostly junk. Thanks to Wellness Mantra team here.

    1. Hi Paul.

      Hope your father is doing well now. Yes, Cardio health is very vital today. Hope you will follow the steps mentioned in this article to keep yourself in best health. Thanks

      Wellness Mantra Team

  2. I loved this blog. Obesity, stress and poor food habits are the major reasons for increased heart diseases these days. I keep myself very active with workouts and walking in the trials to keep my overall wellbeing better. Thanks for this article. Sharon.

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