Every 34 seconds one American has a coronary event. What new healthy heart habits can you and your family implement to make this the healthiest school year yet? You can work together as one family, one team, to maintain healthier hearts with proper diet and exercise. The doctors at Ascension Texas and the Ascension Seton Heart Institute have developed these tips to keep your heart healthy.
A Heart-Healthy Diet
Multiple studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet is heart-healthy, whether you have a history of heart disease or not. Those who follow this type of diet have been shown to live longer, have fewer heart attacks and strokes and have lower risks of developing Type II diabetes.
Exercising Your Heart
The heart is a muscle that pumps all day, every day. Just like any muscle, exercising your heart makes it stronger. This is done by increasing your heart rate. A faster heartbeat means that there’s a larger volume of blood being pumped through the heart, so it can work better even when at rest. Greater blood flow also means the body makes more blood vessels, which improves how efficient your circulation is.
Even moderate amounts of exercise can be great for your heart. Aerobic exercises, like jogging, swimming or cycling, are best for strengthening your heart and lungs.
Having a strong, healthy heart lowers your chances of developing heart disease. In fact, studies show that people who don’t exercise are twice as likely to be diagnosed with heart problems. However, always remember to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise routine.
Stress and Your Heart
Keeping your mental health on track is also important to keeping your heart healthy. Although it’s normal to go through occasional times that are more stressful than others, chronic stress can mean your body is more likely to develop plaque buildup inside your arteries.
Perhaps more important than the stress itself is the way you react during these periods. People who feel emotionally stressed out are often more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors to try and feel better. For example, they may smoke or drink alcohol more, or overeat. All of these activities have a negative effect on your heart. It’s hard to say whether the stress or the reaction to stress is more of a contributing factor to heart disease. However, taking steps to make your physical and emotional health top priorities can only be beneficial to your heart health.
The Seton Heart Institute at Ascension Seton sees a brighter tomorrow in the fight against cardiovascular disease for women and men living in the Central Texas region and beyond.