How to Live a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle
Living a heart-healthy lifestyle is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of developing heart disease. When you choose healthy behaviors, you can lower your heart disease risk while also preventing other serious chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes and some kinds of cancer. Here are seven strategies that can help you live a healthier life and lower your chances of developing cardiovascular diseases.
1. Exercise Regularly
One of the most important things you can do for your health is to make sure that you’re getting regular exercise. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week, or 20 minutes of vigorous physical activity three days a week. This doesn’t have to be complicated — it could be something as simple as taking a walk or going for a bike ride.
2. Eat Healthy Foods
Eating healthy is another key component to living a heart-healthy lifestyle. Make sure that your diet includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats like avocado, nuts, and seeds. Limit the amount of processed foods in your diet and opt for nutritious snacks instead of sugary treats whenever possible.
3. Quit Smoking & Avoid Secondhand Smoke
Smoking or being around secondhand smoke increases your risk for cardiovascular diseases significantly, so make sure that you avoid both if at all possible. If you do smoke, talk to your doctor about programs or medications available to help you quit smoking for good.
4. Know Your Risk Factors & Get Screened Regularly
Knowing what factors increase your risk for developing cardiovascular diseases helps you take steps to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Talk with your doctor about any family history or other risk factors that may increase your chances for developing cardiovascular diseases so that you can take early action if necessary. Additionally, get regular checkups and screenings so that any underlying health issues can be identified quickly and treated accordingly.
5. Manage Stress Levels
Stress has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, so it’s important to find ways to manage stress levels effectively. Meditation, yoga, walking in nature, journaling, talking with friends, regularly practicing gratitude —these are all great ways to keep stress levels low.
6. Get Quality Sleep Every Night
Lack of sleep has been linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease , so make sure that you’re getting quality sleep every night. Aim for 7–9 hours each night, eliminate distractions from the bedroom (like screens) before bedtime, and relax before bed with calming activities such as reading or listening to calming music.
7. Stay Hydrated
Staying properly hydrated helps support overall health – including heart health – so make sure that you’re drinking plenty throughout the day. Not only should you drink water often throughout the day but also consider adding citrus fruits such as oranges or lemons into your water bottle for added flavor—and extra antioxidants!
Living a heart-healthy lifestyle doesn't have to be difficult — all it takes is small changes over time! By making mindful choices on what we eat, how much we exercise, how we manage stress levels, how much sleep we get each night, limiting our exposure to smoking (including secondhand smoke), knowing our personal risks factors and getting screened regularly, we can greatly reduce our chances of developing cardiovascular diseases while also living our happiest lives!