Your heart is a muscle, so exercising helps keep it in shape. How does this work? When you participate in physical activity, and the heart exercises regularly, it pumps more blood through your body so that you can continue working without straining yourself. Consistent exercise also helps keep arteries and blood vessels resilient, which helps ensure steady blood flow. Healthy blood flow helps you to maintain a normal blood pressure rate and cholesterol level.
To help prevent heart disease, be sure to eat right. To practice a heart healthy diet, it is important to:
- Control your portion sizes
- Select protein sources that are low in fat
- Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Limit the number of unhealthy fats you are eating
- Reduce and limit the amount of sodium in your food
If you are wondering about any particular foods you should avoid, stay away from foods containing added sugars, trans fats, saturated fats and too much salt.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Your body weight plays a significant role in the maintenance of heart health because being overweight directly increases your risk for various diseases such as heart disease. In fact, the more you weigh, the more likely you are to suffer from things such as heart disease so it is important to maintain a healthy body weight. If you are overweight, it is important to lose and maintain weight in a healthy fashion, which includes setting realistic weight loss goals, implementing a healthy eating plan and developing a plan for becoming and staying physically active.
Keep Your Blood Pressure Rate Under Control
Check and know what your blood pressure rate is because you want to keep it under control. To help with this process, stay away from eating excessive amounts of salt. One easy way to keep salt consumption to a minimum is to use citrus and spices to season your food instead of salt.
Keep Your Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels Under Control Triglycerides
If you aren’t already aware of this fact, triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) found in your blood. After you eat, your body turns calories it doesn’t require right away into triglycerides, which are stored in your body’s fat cells. When energy is required at a later time, triglycerides are released, and that is how you stay energized.
Having high triglycerides can contribute to hardening of the arteries and thickening of the body’s artery walls. This increases a person’s risk of stroke, heart attack, and heart disease. To lower the amount of triglycerides in your body, it is important to make healthy lifestyle choices, which includes maintaining a healthy body weight, cutting back on calories, avoiding sugary foods and drinks, eating healthy fats while avoiding bad ones, limiting alcohol and regularly exercising.
A different type of fat (or lipid) that also circulates in your blood is cholesterol. Instead of storing calories to provide energy, cholesterol helps with the construction of cells and certain hormones like estrogen, testosterone and adrenal hormones. Cholesterol is also necessary for your metabolism to function properly and for your body to be able to produce vitamin D. In addition, cholesterol helps your body create bile acids, which is necessary for your body to digest fats and absorb more essential nutrients.
Why is cholesterol important to heart health? When cholesterol travels through the bloodstream, it is transported by one of two different kinds of lipoproteins. There are low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). These are more commonly referred to as the “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and good cholesterol (HDL). When the LDL level (or bad cholesterol) is too high, it can cause a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries, and since your arteries carry blood from your heart to your body, it can be dangerous if these arteries were to become clogged.
Stay On Top of Diabetes
Staying on top of diabetes means that if you don’t have diabetes, you should make sure to get checked to ensure you are not developing the disease. If you do have diabetes, this step involves keeping it under control. It is important to manage diabetes because if you don’t, you run the risk of damaging the vessels that supply blood to some of your body’s organs such as the heart, kidneys, nerves and eyes.
If you want to prevent heart disease, it is critical to stay on top of the issues mentioned above. You should take your health seriously because you only have one body, treat it right! If you are someone that hasn’t taken care of your body in the past or that could do a better job moving forward, use America’s Heart Month as your inspiration! Remember that it is never too late to get healthy and fit!
If you live in or around Petaluma, California and are looking for an inspiring place to work out, be sure to check out the Redwood Club! We offer group exercise classes, personal training and gym memberships for working out on your own time!