February marks the start of Heart Month in America, so we wanted to mark the occasion with some valuable information about hearts, heart diseases and how you can keep your heart happy and healthy.
And this doesn’t just apply to Americans, this information is valuable for all of you, so be sure to read on if you want to learn more about your heart.
Why Your Heart is Important
Think of your body as a machine for a moment. Everything is cogs and oil and pumps. Your heart is the most important set of pumps in your body. The right side of your heart receives blood from the body and pumps it into the lungs. The left side of your heart then receives this blood back and sends the oxygenated blood to the rest of your body.
Without your heart your blood doesn’t flow, and that causes organs to shut down or not function at their full capacity. You need your heart to be strong in order to live an active and long life, and that’s why it’s important to make sure you know how to keep your heart healthy.
How to Keep Your Heart Healthy
We acknowledge that the heart is a vital aspect of a healthy life, but what do we do about it? There are some very easy ways that you can ensure a healthy and happy heart for the rest of your life.
The first and most obvious thing you can do is to eat healthy and get active in your day-to-day life. By reducing salt in your diet and cutting back on bad cholesterol (something we’ll go over below) you can reduce your risk of high blood cholesterol and heart attacks. For example, adding more fish to your diet is a good idea because the omega-3 acids can reduce your risk of heart disease significantly. Adding some daily activity is good for you as well to get the blood pumping and keep your heart strong.
Watching your weight is very important as well. Carrying a lot of weight around adds stress to your heart and can cause several heart problems in the future. Drop the pounds and your risk of heart disease drops as well. Fit Body Boot Camp’s mission is to help people with this exact problem shed the weight quickly and safely so that they can live a happy and long life.
Smoking is a big no-no if you want to have a healthy heart. If you’re a smoker that’s worried about their heart health you need to quit now. Even if you’re not a smoker and you’ve been exposed to second-hand smoke consistently you could be at risk for health problems as well.
Manage your stress levels. This one may seem obvious, but it’s so important to make sure you aren’t constantly stressed out. If you find yourself always worrying about details and deadlines you may be causing harm to your body unintentionally. Make sure you give yourself time to slow down and do something you enjoy on your own or with some positive people.
By changing your daily habits you can reduce your risk of heart disease significantly and ensure yourself an active lifestyle. It’s also important to understand heart disease, so we’ll go over the two major players.
High Blood Cholesterol
What is cholesterol anyways? It’s a fat-like substance that your liver produces and it makes hormones, helps digest food and supports the work that cells do. But why is it bad if it serves all of these bodily functions?
Well, there are two types of cholesterol, sometimes known as “good cholesterol” and “bad cholesterol”, or their medical terms, high-density lipoproteins and low-density lipoproteins. You want to have a good balance of both of these, with more HDL and less LDL in your system.
Low-density lipoproteins, or LDL, carry cholesterol to your cells. This is important, of course, but your liver produces everything your body needs, so you need to be careful not to introduce too much to your system. The fatty nature of LDL means that it can build up in your arteries and possibly cause blockages, which can lead to various heart diseases, including Coronary Heart Disease and heart attacks.
High-density lipoproteins, or HDL, carry cholesterol away from the cells and helps to clear up the arteries. Not smoking, losing weight and becoming more active can all help reach a good HDL point in adults. Foods that include olive, peanut and canola oils, nuts, fish and other foods with omega-3 fatty acids will all help balance out your LDL to HDL ratio.
Make sure to always get your cholesterol checked, especially if you’re at risk, that way you can take action before it becomes a serious problem.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, or Hypertension, is another medical condition to watch out for. When your blood flows through your arteries at higher-than-normal rates it can cause the heart to work too hard and harm arteries and organs, including the heart itself.
There are two types of Hypertension. One is called Primary, and it’s the kind that develops over several years, especially in people carrying around a lot of extra weight. This is the most common kind. The second version is Secondary, and this one is caused by other medical conditions or medication. This kind is resolved with the elimination of the outside forces causing it.
The thing is that blood pressure rises with age and body size, and while you can’t stop yourself from aging unless you’re Benjamin Button, you can keep your body size down through exercise and a healthy diet. Even having these two things as you get older can help with blood pressure!
The common denominator when it comes to heart health is proper eating and exercise habits. You need to make sure you keep a watch on what you’re putting into your body, and make sure to always get your numbers checked at the doctor. Even if you aren’t aware of any potential problems, you have to stay vigilant so you can go out and do all of those amazing things you want to do.
If you want to learn more about Heart Health Month go to this website for some facts and tips.
And if you want to get started on losing weight and learning a healthier way to eat, then contact your local Fit Body Boot Camp at fitbodybootcamp.com, we’re here to help you be your best self.