Small Ways to Improve Your Heart Health

Written By Tracy & Keim Chiropractic LLC on February 1, 2022

ladder leading to a heart

February is all about the heart—and we’re not just talking about romance. Yes, Valentine’s Day is coming up, but February is also American Heart Month. We know that with busy lives and full days, finding time to give your heart some TLC can be tough. That’s why we’re here with some easy and small ways to improve your heart health. Whether you want to focus on exercise, nutrition, or stress levels, here are some simple things you can do for a healthier heart.

Get Moving

Aerobic exercise like walking, running, cycling, or swimming is great for your heart! Although most health experts recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week, it’s okay to start small, particularly if you’re not used to exercising. Try these easy ways to be a little more active each day and show your heart some love.

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Park the car on the farthest end of the parking lot. Better yet, forget the car altogether and walk or bike to your destination!
  • Start your lunch breaks with a short walk. It’s a great way to reset. Plus, it gets your metabolism going so your body can burn the calories from your meal more effectively.
  • Find something to do in the evenings besides watching TV. If it’s a show you just can’t miss, then stand up, walk in place, stretch, or do yoga while you watch.
  • Set an alarm to go off every hour during the day as a reminder to stand up, stretch, and walk around for a couple of minutes.
  • Clean your house or do yard work—yep, daily activities like this count as exercise and help your heart!

Tweak Your Diet

You don’t have to make dramatic changes to your diet to improve your heart health. While we all know that whole grains, fruits and veggies, and less sugar, sodium, and red meat is the way to go, it can be hard to implement—especially all at once. Try a few of these simple tips to start eating a more heart-healthy diet without actually going on a diet.

  • Use spices and herbs instead of salt to flavor food. Too much salt contributes to high blood pressure, which is hard on your heart.
  • Prep your own food instead of eating out. Cooking is a great skill, and it allows you to have more control over what you eat. Most prepared foods are high in fat, salt and/or sugar, but if you make it from scratch, you’ll know exactly what you’re putting into your body.
  • Drink water instead of juice, energy drinks, or coffee. Most drinks are very high in sugar, while water is great for your entire body.
  • Eat less meat—especially red meat. Try meatless Mondays. If you’re really feeling ambitious, swap out another meat for seafood one day a week as well. And when you do eat meat, try to choose healthier options (like ground turkey instead of beef) or mix ground meat with finely chopped veggies like onions and zucchini. You won’t even know they’re there!
  • Eat just one more serving of fruit or veggies each day.

Find Ways to Beat Stress

One factor we don’t always take into account when considering heart health is stress. Stress can increase your blood pressure, and can also lead to behaviors that are bad for your heart, like overeating or smoking. Taking small steps to reduce chronic stress is one way to protect your heart—and boost your mood.

  • Try meditation. Meditation can provide relief from both emotional and physical symptoms of stress. If you’re worried about being able to focus, start with short sessions, or try a practice like yoga or tai chi, which combines meditation with motion.
  • Do you have pets? Take time out for a cuddle! Dogs are a great excuse to get active, but studies have shown that even just petting an animal lowers stress levels and has a positive effect on your health and mood.
  • Nurture positive relationships. Having a strong support system can reduce stress by providing connections, fun activities, and different perspectives.
  • Practice gratitude. Staying positive can lower your feelings of stress. Many people find it helpful to write down something they’re grateful for at the end of each day.
  • See your chiropractor! Did you know your chiropractor is a great resource for stress reduction? An adjustment can release the tension you’re holding in your body and allow you to let go of stress naturally. We can also suggest supplements that may help to keep stress at bay and improve your heart health and sense of wellbeing.

With dozens of small ways to improve your heart health (we’ve only touched on a few here), it’s not too difficult to find a couple of small lifestyle adjustments that can have a big impact on your heart. If you need more recommendations or would like to learn more about how Tracy and Keim Chiropractic can help you improve your heart health, please be in touch! We’re here to support you in your wellness journey.

References

  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/10-small-steps-for-better-heart-health
  2. https://www.livestrong.com/article/529627-walking-before-or-after-meals/
  3. https://www.cardiovascularinstitute.com/why-is-salt-bad-for-your-heart/
  4. https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/stress-heart-disease-risk
  5. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/mood-boosting-power-of-dogs.htm
  6. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858


Posted In: Chiropractic Nutrition Stress Relief Exercise Heart Health