Americans are looking for actionable ways to improve cardiovascular health—and that’s no surprise when you look at the numbers.
According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women and those of most ethnicities and races. Every 36 seconds, someone passes from cardiovascular disease, totaling about 655,000 Americans a year.Heart attacks claim another person every 40 seconds, totaling 805,000 a year.
Needless to say, we could all stand to learn more about heart health, regardless of our age, gender, race, or current wellness levels. That’s why we compiled this guide of easy but effective methods for improving the heart.
1. You Guessed It: Exercise
We’ve all heard it. Exercise has fantastic effects on the body—physically, mentally, and emotionally. But how exactly does it help the heart?
Regular exercise contributes to lower blood pressure, healthier heart rate, better blood sugar regulation, and healthier cholesterol levels. These are all factors linked to improved cardiovascular health. Exercise also keeps our parasympathetic nervous systems in check, which keeps us more relaxed and with lower cortisol levels.
In addition to physical, mental, and emotional health, exercise also positively affects our physiological health. It encourages the heart’s arteries to dilate at a better pace.
These effects don’t happen overnight or with one episode of movement. Rather, they build up over time.
2. Consider Infrared Therapy
Infrared therapy is not only beneficial to the heart, but it’s relaxing to boot.
When you try infrared therapy—such as using a sauna—your body sees several advantages. Some of those include:
- Nitric oxide production, which is great for blood vessel health
- Improved blood circulation
- Relaxation of the arteries
- It helps prevent blood clots, therefore regulating blood pressure
Need extra insight? Read more here.
Consider trying an infrared sauna, which uses a lower temperature than a traditional sauna and means a longer session if desired.
3. Eliminate the Bad Stuff in Your Diet
If you want a healthier heart, the answer might be as simple as altering a poor diet.
Several foods are harmful to the heart: anything with high amounts of sugar, bacon (we hate to say it!), processed meats, and pizza, to name a few. Drinks like sodas and alcohol also contribute to higher blood pressure, increased odds of a stroke, and weight gain, all of which are harmful to the heart.
Replace these items, if and when possible, when heart-healthy foods, such as:
- Leafy greens
- Berries—all of them (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries)!
If you’re struggling to find recipes that appeal to you, a quick Google search can typically yield delicious results.
Improve Cardiovascular Health: Sooner Than Later!
There’s no denying it—a healthier heart contributes to a healthier, happier existence. When we make our hearts a priority, they reward us with longevity, with life. There’s everything to gain and nothing to lose by putting cardiovascular health on a pedestal!
As you practice bringing these habits into your life, remember to always consult with your doctor if you have any questions.
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