Best Ways to Improve Your Cardio Health

Last updated on August 21st, 2018 at 09:30 pm

Heart disease is a major concern in the UK, ranking number one as the most common cause of death in adults under the age of 65.

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With stats like that, it’s important to take the initiative to make sure your heart is as healthy as it can be.

Fortunately, there are small changes you can make to your daily routine to get your ticker up to optimum performance.

Make good food choices

Salmon is rich in Omega-3 fats; image source: pexels.com

A healthy diet is obviously a huge part of having a healthy heart, but some specific foods can really pack a punch in the cardio department. Antioxidant-rich foods are a great way to rid your body of harmful toxins and promote better health in general, but the benefits to the cardiovascular system are so great that these superfoods should be incorporated into every diet.

Foods loaded with antioxidants include blueberries, tomatoes, dark and/or leafy greens (think kale, spinach, and broccoli), pomegranates, green tea, and red wine (keep the wine limited to one or two small glasses a day).

Blueberries boost immune system; image source: pexels.com

Another category of foods to incorporate into your diet include those high in “good” fats. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids, as are certain nuts.

Walnuts in particular provide energy while still being heart-healthy, but peanuts, almonds, and pistachios are all great options as well (skip varieties with added salt). Soy, avocado, and flax seed all add variety to meals while being high in good fats that help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

Drizzle extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) on foods as well, since studies have shown that people who consume at least four tablespoons of EVOO per day dramatically reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke.

Other heart-healthy foods include potatoes (high in potassium, but skip the fried variety), oatmeal (lots of soluble fibre that absorbs excess cholesterol), and citrus fruits (loaded with heart-friendly vitamin C, but keep in mind that grapefruit and its juice can interact with statin medications for cholesterol).

Grapefruit; image source: pexels.com

While drastically changing your diet can be a daunting task that is unlikely to be immediately successful, making small changes for more heart-healthy fare may prove to be easier than you think.

Keep your sodium level in check

Variety is the spice of life, and when it comes to spices, a break from salt could be just what the doctor ordered. Diets high in sodium can contribute to high blood pressure and fluid retention.

While a little water weight can be a cosmetic nuisance, fluid retention can contribute to chest pain, difficulty breathing, and wounds in the feet and ankles. High blood pressure can lead to a stroke or other cardiovascular problems. To add flavour without adding sodium, check out this list of herbs and spices that are much more heart-healthy than salt.

Get enough exercise

Group exercise; image source: pexels.com

A sedentary lifestyle can definitely cause cardiovascular issues down the line. Getting enough exercise (and the right kind of exercise) strengthens your heart and keeps your arteries elastic, allowing for better blood flow.

Running, swimming, yoga, and cycling are all activities that get your heart pumping with minimal equipment. If you belong to a gym or have workout equipment at home, circuit training and weight training are also excellent ways to get your heart and body into shape. And keep in mind that everyday activities can be cardio too; vacuuming, mowing the lawn, and having sex are weekly activities for most people and definitely get blood flowing.

If low blood flow is causing erectile difficulties, talk to your doctor about getting a prescription for tadalafil, and have fun getting your cardio on!

Don’t pull all-nighters

Too much of alcohol is never healthy; image source: pexels.com

Sleep deprivation can cause a myriad of health problems, not the least of which are cardiovascular in nature. Lack of quality sleep can affect blood pressure negatively, as well as slow the metabolism and make it more difficult for you to maintain a healthy weight.

We all know that obesity puts strain on the heart, so getting enough sleep is crucial to your cardiovascular well-being. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep per night, and for the best quality of sleep, avoid exercising, drinking alcohol, and consuming anything caffeinated for several hours before you hit the sheets.

A light, healthy snack an hour or so before bedtime can help to relax you and cut down on midnight snacking.

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Whether you are already experiencing cardiovascular issues or are trying to prevent them in the future, these lifestyle tips will help you on the way to better heart health.

About author:
This article was contributed to healthiack.com by a guest author.

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