Are you pumped for American Heart Month? We sure are! That’s why we’ve gathered these (super easy) tips to help you keep your ticker in tip-top shape!
1. Banish butts. Cigarette butts, that is. This one may be obvious, but we can’t stress it enough. Smoking is bad for your heart. We repeat, smoking is bad for your heart. Kicking this habit will reduce your risk for hardened arteries, heart disease, stroke and a slew of other health problems. Need a little extra encouragement? Check out these handy tips to help you quit.
2. Swap the fat. Not all fats are created equal. Swapping out saturated fat for “healthy” fats in your diet can do wonders. Healthy fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated) can be found in nuts, seeds, fish and certain plant sources (avocados, coconuts, olives). Cooking with coconut oil rather than butter or lard is a good way to swap bad fat for good – but remember that any type of fat must be consumed in moderation.
3. Walk. Exercise can be intimidating. But walking doesn’t sound so bad, does it? If you’re not currently active, brisk walking is the best (and easiest) way to start. Even if you’re crunched for time, you can squeeze in a quick walk before work, during your lunch break, or after dinner.
4. Play with a pet. Stress comes at you from all angles – your boss, your spouse, your kids, that guy in traffic that nearly merged into your car. When you finally make it home at the end of the day, decompress by curling up with your kitty or playing tug of war with your pup. Studies have shown that interacting with animals can help calm frazzled nerves and support healthy blood pressure.
5. Get some shut-eye. Lack of sleep can leave you with zombie-brain, but did you know it can also put a strain on your heart? Studies have shown that poor sleep quality (including interrupted or shortened sleep) may be linked with cardiovascular disease. Yet another reason to sleep in (tell your boss you were just trying to protect your heart!).