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Heart Health

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Heart Health

  • February 9, 2016

Heart Health

150 150 SSI Physical Therapy and Health Club

Unfortunately, many of us know individuals who have been affected by heart disease or stroke. The combination of inactivity and poor diet is the second most common preventable cause of death in the United States, while smoking is the first. A healthy diet and healthy lifestyle are your best weapons to fight cardiovascular disease. The three factors that contribute the most to heart health is diet, exercise, and stress.

heartdumbellExercise Benefits on the Heart  

  • Exercise helps improve heart health and can even reverse some heart disease risk factors
  • Like all muscles, the heart becomes stronger with exercise allowing it to pump more blood through the body with every heart beat
  • Exercise can decrease risk of heart disease, blood pressure, and stroke
  • Exercise will also slow down resting heart rate because less effort is needed to pump blood
  • Exercise will improve cholesterol and fat levels as well as reduce inflammation in the arteries
  • Exercise helps keep blood vessels flexible and open
  • American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise of 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise or a combination of the two
  • People who maintain an active lifestyle have a 45% lower risk of developing heart disease than do sedentary people
  • Sedentary people have a 35% greater risk of developing high blood pressure that physically active people
  • A person who exercises often and vigorously has the lowest risk of heart disease, but any amount of exercise is beneficial
  • Benefits occur even with modest weight loss, suggesting that overweight people who have trouble losing weight can still achieve considerable amounts of heart benefits from exercise

Diet Benefits of the Heart

  • The food you eat can be just as critical for your heart as controlling your weight and exercising
  • A heart healthy diet can reduce your risk of heart disease or stroke by 80%
  • Being careful about what you eat can help you lower cholesterol, control blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and maintain a healthy weight – while simultaneously improving your mood
  • The Mayo Clinic: Heart Healthy Diet – 8 Steps to Prevent Heart Disease
    1. Control your portion size
    2. Eat more fruits and vegetables
    3. Select whole grains
    4. Limit unhealthy fats
    5. Choose low-fat protein sources
    6. Reduce the sodium in your food
    7. Plan ahead: create daily menus
    8. Allow yourself an occasional treat

Stress on the Heart

  • Stress can lead to high blood pressure as well as affect behaviors and factors that increase heart disease risk
  • Stress exposes your body to unhealthy elevated levels of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol
  • Studies also link stress to changes in the way blood clots, which increases the risk of heart attacks
  • Ways to relieve stress according to the American Heart Association:
    • Talk with family and friends
    • Engage in daily physical activity
    • Embrace the things you are unable to change
    • Remember to laugh
    • Give up the bad habits
    • Slow down
    • Get enough sleep
    • Get organized
    • Practice giving back
    • Try not to worry