If you’re always looking for heart-healthy diet and exercise tips, we may be able to help. Keeping your heart healthy, especially if you’re always on the go, isn’t easy. Your busy schedule can make it difficult to address.
Reducing your risk for heart disease is important because it remains the No. 1 killer among men and women. If you’re concerned about your heart health, there are some heart-healthy diet and exercise tips you can work into your daily routine — even if you’re constantly on the go.
Heart-Healthy Diet Tip: Drink Water
Drinking water is the most effective way to rejuvenate your cells after a long night’s sleep. Make it a habit to drink plenty of water in the morning. Two 8-ounce glasses of water before breakfast every morning will not only hydrate you, but it will help you to maintain a healthy weight. The Academy of Nurtrition and Dietetics says 16 ounces of water in the morning will help fight off your urge to snack. It can also make your metabolism more effective.
Heart-Healthy Diet Tip: Eat Breakfast
If you’re wondering how to put together a heart healthy diet — start with breakfast. If you find yourself eating on the go, it can actually be a good thing. It’s an easy way to avoid foods high in saturated fat (like butter on your pancakes or bacon). Instead, reach for a piece of fruit as you’re heading out the door.
A good example is a banana. They’re high in fiber, which will make you feel fuller, longer. They’re also low in calories. Pairing your banana with a healthy fat (like peanut butter) will help to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and burn stored fat. A bananas is just one of 10 foods you can eat in the morning without sacrificing much time.
Heart-Healthy Exercise Tip: Follow the Guidelines
Exercising at least 30 minutes a day will lower your blood pressure. It will also boost your HDL (good cholesterol) level. You’ll also reduce the protein that contributes to blood clots.
The good news is it’s now easier than ever to get the recommended amount of physical activity each day. That’s because the newest guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services state that all movement matters. The advice falls right in line with what the American Heart Association recommends.
Exercise (or move) whenever you can. If you work in an office, you should try to get up once every hour to walk around or stretch your legs. Go for a walk during lunch and take the stairs instead of the elevator if you can. You can also work some walking meetings into your day. You’ll get your blood vessels pumping and decrease your risk for high blood pressure and heart attacks.
Heart-Healthy Diet Tip: Eat a Healthy Lunch
Another important part of a heart-healthy diet is lunch. Eating fast food everyday will only increase your risk for heart disease.
Eat a healthy lunch, and avoid eating hamburgers, fries, and other unhealthy foods. Opt for lean meats and salads with low or no-fat dressing instead.
Heart-Healthy Exercise Tip: Breathe
Breathing exercises will work wonders for your heart rate. Whether sitting at your office desk, in a car, or waiting in line at the store, you can spend a few moments doing a simple deep breathing exercise. Exhale completely through your mouth and then inhale slowly through your nose, expanding your stomach slowly as you go. Repeat five times.
Deep breathing helps control your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone made by your adrenal glands. It regulates a wide range of processes including stress response, blood pressure and infection control.
When you’re under chronic stress, you tend to take shallow breaths. If you’re super busy (and super stressed), try holding your breath for a few seconds. Holding your breath will divert more blood to your brain. This will increase alertness, but more importantly, it will slow your heart rate. Getting your heart to stop racing will calm you down. And if you're not in a spot where you can hold your breath, try smiling. You don’t even need to tell a joke because studies show a simple smile will take away your stress by lowering your blood pressure.
You can take steps to prevent heart disease, no matter what your schedule is like. Everybody wants to be healthy, and you always have the time to make healthy lifestyle choices. Being overly busy not only makes you feel fatigued and stressed, but it can also cause your health to deteriorate to the extent that you become more susceptible to serious illnesses. If you want to live a long and happy life, it is essential that you take proactive steps to stay heart healthy.
If you’re looking for more ways to decrease your risk for heart disease, our “Heart Disease Facts” guide can help.