– By Jasmine Locke, FPH Wellness Intern, Spring 2020
Although exercise and a healthy diet are important for maintaining a health heart, here are five additional factors to include in your everyday routine to maintain a healthy heart:
- Quit Smoking Tobacco – Smoking tobacco is the single most influential factor for developing heart disease. Eliminating the largest risk factor for heart disease is giant step in the right direction.
- Practice good dental hygiene – Yes, that includes flossing your teeth everyday along with brushing! Neglecting your dental health can potentially lead to gum disease, which has the same risk factors as heart disease. The bacteria associated with gum disease can eventually work its way into the bloodstream leading to inflammatory responses in the blood vessels, and ultimately causing a risk factor for heart disease. Something as simple as brushing AND flossing your teeth daily can help prevent gum disease, as well as heart disease.
- Get enough sleep – Sleep is an important part of our body’s recovery after each day, so it’s important to maintain proper sleeping habits. Studies show if you do not sleep for 6 to 8 hours each night, you are more likely to develop heart disease regardless of your age. An individual is two times more likely to develop heart disease with less than six hours of sleep each night. Make sleeping a priority, it can potentially save your life.
- Do not sit for long periods of time – Staying seated for long periods of time is bad for your health. Even if you take an exercise class in the morning, be sure to keep moving throughout the day. Don’t have time to exercise? Then try taking multiple shorter walks throughout the day rather than one long walk or simply park a little farther at the grocery store so you can get more steps in. Be active on most days of the week!
- Avoid secondhand smoke at all costs – Although smoking is detrimental to your health, second hand smoke increases your risk of heart disease by approximately 30%. Cigarette smoke, whether you smoke it or inhale it second hand, promotes plaque buildup in the arteries. Stay clear of smoking areas and if a family or friend is smoking near you, politely walk away to steer clear of second hand smoke.
By taking these five simple steps to heart, you’ll be on your way to a healthier tomorrow.
Source: Cleveland Clinic