While American Heart Month is coming to a close, there are things you can do all year long to keep your ticker in top shape.
Eating a healthy and balanced diet can immensely affect your heart and your overall health.
While you may be eating plenty of food, your body may not be getting all of the actual nutrients it needs to be strong and healthy. Foods that are rich in nutrients have higher minerals, vitamins and fiber but lower calories.
These foods provide the heart-healthy nutrients your body craves.
· Oatmeal is high in soluble fiber and can even lower cholesterol. Be sure to avoid the pre-packaged instant varies that often contain added sugar; old-fashioned or quick-cook oats are the way to go. Top it with sliced apple and cinnamon, bananas and peanut butter, or even fresh berries.
· Blueberries, which are said to decrease blood pressure and dilate blood vessels.
· Tomatoes are high in heart-healthy potassium and a great source of antioxidants.
· Nuts including almonds, walnuts, pistachios and macadamias contain vitamin E and fiber. Opt for raw varieties to avoid added salt.
· Greens such as broccoli, spinach and kale are high in antioxidants and help rid your body of potentially harmful compounds.
Read the full list of 18 superfoods for your heart from Health.com.
Did you know that your posture could actually affect your heart rate?
According to the National Institute of Health, the average resting heart rate for adults is 60-100 beats per minute. If you’re not sure of your resting heart rate, a good time to measure is after a good night’s sleep just before you get out of bed.
+ Take your pulse on the inside of your wrist, on the thumb side.
+ Use the tips of your first two fingers to press lightly over the blood vessels on your wrist
+ Count your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply by 6 to find your beats per minute.
Check out this chart for target heart rate averages by age.
Be sure to stand tall and upright to get the most out of each minute. If you use or are in need of a mobility aid, the Motivo Tour allows you to walk naturally to better enable your everyday life.
For optimal cardiovascular health, the American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity five days per week. Physical activity is anything that gets your body moving and burning calories. Not sure where to start? Consider daily stretching and a stroll outside. If 30 minutes all at once is too intense for you, break it up a bit. Try two 15-minute sessions or three sessions of 10 minutes each and work your way up.
Remember, everyone has to start somewhere. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t meet the mark right away. Try working it in slowly and soon enough you’ll be reaching the recommended activity levels each week on a regular basis. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at what happens to your overall energy level when physical activity becomes a routine part of your day.
If you have a heart condition, you may want to talk to a healthcare professional about your target heart rate and what exercises are most appropriate for your fitness level.
How do you take care of your heart?