Ten ways to keep your heart healthy

Last Updated: Friday, September 30, 2011 - 00:50

Liji Varghese

A healthy heart is the way to healthy living, but the frenzied modern lifestyle is taking a toll on this little muscular organ. A sedentary lifestyle, munching on junk food, alcohol, smoking, long working hours and increasing stress is making the heart more and more vulnerable. The average human heart beats approximately 2.5 billion times during an average lifespan of 66 years. But then are we making the most of 2.5 billion beats? Apparently not… But don`t you think it`s high time that we pay attention to what our heart needs.

Here are a few easy ways to keep your heart young…

1. Eat Healthy: The first and foremost for a healthy heart is to know what is in your plate. Always keep a check on what you eat and when you eat. A diet adequate in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and small amount of oil and red meat can help your heart beat longer.

2. Maintain healthy body weight: Maintaining healthy weight is important for over all well being as obesity increases the risk of various heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes etc. Maintain BMI between 20 to 25 which is considered the optimal weight.

3. Practice Yoga, mediate or exercise: Even if you cannot follow all of them together, try implementing one of the practices to enhance your hearts healthy. A 30 minute aerobic exercise improves your heart rate. Yoga and meditation are also great for your heart as they help ease stress which automatically improves your hearts functioning.

4. Be active: If you are unable to take time to exercise regularly, try to be active throughout the day. Take the stairs instead of a lift, mop the floor or try walking back home from work, if you live nearby.

5. Quit smoking and alcohol: This needs no explanation, as everyone who consumes alcohol or smokes knows about what these products can do to their heart. Cutting on cigarettes or alcohol is rather tough, but killing oneself is not a smart choice either. Try getting out of the addiction slowly but surely.

6. Manage stress levels: When things start going wrong, one tends to lose appetite and indulge in excess smoking and drinking. In such a situation, managing the stress level is extremely important. If you let stress get on to your head for long you will gradually decrease the number of years in your life. Talk to friends, socialize, slow down a bit and take a break. Enjoying your life to the fullest is the best way to keep your heart healthy and agile.

7. Check your family history: Having a family history of heart problems can increase your risk of having cardiovascular diseases many folds. If a close relative of yours is suffering from a heart problem, then it’s better for you to take extra care of your health.

8. Get good sleep: Lack of sleep worsens blood pressure and cholesterol. Sleep deficiency also leads to increased stress levels, which also raises the level of inflammation in your body further increasing risk of heart-related problems. A sleep of 7 to 9 hours each night will help your heart stay healthy.

9. Get regular health screening: Get screened for high blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

10. Laugh out loud and be happy: Laughter is indeed the best medicine for your heart. Laughing for just 15 minutes daily can boost blood flow by 22% and prevent arteries from hardening. Being happy is the ultimate mantra to a healthy heart.



First Published: Monday, September 26, 2011 - 19:00

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