How To Improve Heart Health: 10 Simple Ways To Strengthen Your Heart

Written by Ally Streelman

NowRx Pharmacy

How to Improve Heart Health: 10 Simple Tips - NowRx

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. In fact, in the United States alone somebody has a heart attack every 40 seconds.

However, heart disease is also largely preventable (at least to some degree) with proper diet and exercise.

In this article, we will explore exactly that – how to improve heart health and strengthen your heart. We hope that these tips, when implemented consistently over time, will help you or a loved one live a longer, healthier, and happier life.

How To Strengthen Your Heart

Learning how to strengthen your heart can sometimes feel overwhelming. You have probably heard the advice to eat healthy, exercise, and avoid smoking if you want a healthy heart. However, while true, this often feels overly general and unspecific.

Nevertheless, sometimes the smallest habits that are easy to implement are the ones that can be built upon to create major change over the long term.

So with that in mind, here are 10 tips for how to strengthen your heart.

1. Go for a walk 

Exercise is critical for a healthy heart. There are innumerable heart benefits to getting daily exercise. It may help you lose weight, lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol, and reduce stress. But if you’re not already active, working out can be intimidating. 

You don’t have to go to the gym to reap the benefits of exercise, though. Even going for a brisk 30-minute walk counts as physical activity. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults need 150-300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity. By walking for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, you can meet this recommendation.

2. Breathe deeply

Various types of breath work can help lower blood pressure and reduce stress and, thus, improve heart health. In particular, Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training (IMST), which uses a handheld device to repeatedly inhale against resistance, has been shown to reduce blood pressure with consistent use, 5-7 times a week, for six weeks. 

Another type of breathwork, pranayama, which consists of slow breathing (6 breaths per minute), can immediately lower and permanently decrease resting blood pressure after several weeks of consistent practice. In both of these studies, researchers found that just 5 minutes a day of these breathing exercises can have a dramatic effect on heart health. 

3. Eat more fish

Fish is full of healthy fats, protein, and nutrients that when consumed can benefit heart health.

In a meta-analysis of studies examining the association between fish consumption and coronary heart disease (CHD), researchers found that the incidence of CHD events and mortality from CHD were reduced by 4% for every 20 grams per day of fish consumption. Heart-healthy fish are those that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and trout.  

4. Practice Gratitude

Another simple lifestyle change that may help improve heart health is practicing gratitude. According to a systematic review, optimism is significantly associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular events.

Diminishing pessimism and promoting optimism is possible through various tactics, including establishing a mindset of gratitude. Practicing gratitude daily can also help reduce stress, which can, in turn, reduce the risk of heart disease. 

5. Make your own snacks

Diet plays a critical role in heart health. High amounts of sugar and cholesterol in one’s blood are key contributors to coronary heart disease and other types of cardiovascular disease.

Many store-bought snack foods are particularly high in sugar and saturated fats, which can contribute to high blood sugar and cholesterol. Instead of reaching for processed foods like these when hunger strikes, try eating raw fruits and vegetables or one of these healthy homemade snacks.  

6. Choose Non-Alcoholic beverages

Despite numerous studies, there is conflicting evidence as to the effects of alcohol on heart health.

However, the World Heart Federation and other organizations are challenging the notion that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol can decrease the risk of heart disease.

On the contrary, in a recent cohort study published in JAMA, alcohol consumption at all levels was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Researchers found modest increases in risk with light alcohol intake and exponentially greater risk increases at higher levels of consumption.

To limit alcohol consumption and prevent raising your risk of heart disease, try replacing alcoholic beverages with mocktails or non-alcoholic beer or wine.

7. Track your movement

Wearing a fitness device, such as a watch or ring that tracks your steps, activity, and heart rate may help you be more active throughout the day and strengthen your heart.

Even if you are exercising for 30 minutes to an hour each day, sitting for the remaining hours can poorly impact your health. Research shows that greater sedentary time is associated with greater cardiovascular mortality. So, if a watch reminds you to stand up and move around every hour, it could help improve your health. 

8. Fill your plate with veggies

It is well-established that eating a healthy diet can reduce one’s risk of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. One hallmark of a healthy diet is vegetables.

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan is a proven method to reduce high blood pressure and improve heart health. It recommends leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, and cabbage, as well as carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower. But as long as you’re filling your plate with the vegetables you love, you’ll be getting more nutrients and helping reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. 

9. Find an activity you love

If you don’t enjoy physical activity, you won’t hit the 150-minute minimum recommended for heart health. And new research shows that getting double or even quadruple that amount of exercise can further reduce one’s risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and other causes. So, it’s critical to find a type of physical activity you enjoy and do it often. This may be hiking, yoga, going on walks with friends, swimming, playing tennis, golfing, or a combination of activities.

The important takeaway is to find activities you want to do so that you do them more often and get ample exercise each week.  

10. Carve out time for yourself

Whether it is to exercise, meal prep, meditate, journal, or take a bath, carving out time for yourself is important for heart health.Finding activities such as these can reduce stress and improve your mood.

Research has shown that low-level prolonged psychological stress plays a role in the development of chronic conditions such as coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, and mental illness. Thus, by making stress-reducing activities a part of your regular routine, you can help reduce your risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions.

How To Improve Your Heart Health Quickly

The best way to improve your heart health quickly is to implement heart-healthy changes as soon as possible and stick with them. Consistency is key to seeing results and the faster you make changes you will stick to then the quicker you will see results.

Ultimately, improving heart health should be a goal for everyone as it is something each of us can benefit from. Use the tips above for how to strengthen your heart and you will be well on your way to improving heart health, reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease, and living a happy healthier life.

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