Heart disease is the number one killer for women across the nation. It is essential we are aware of the risks of heart disease, including ways in which we can prevent this leading killer. Hearts are the most important organs in our body, so keeping hearts healthy is beneficial in many ways.
Since we have all been in some form of quarantine for a year now, staying active is essential through these difficult times. One of my favorite forms of exercise is running. Whether I am at a park, on the beach, or running through neighborhoods, I will find a way to get my run in any day I can. However, running is not for everyone, so what else can we do to ensure our hearts stay healthy? Other activities that support your heart include yoga, cycling, swimming, and my favorite, walking. Yes, really. Walking is the simplest way to get your heart pumping each day.
Exercising is not the only activity we can do to ensure our hearts stay healthy, sleep is also crucial for a healthy heart. Getting less than six or seven hours of sleep each night can increase the risk of heart disease. Poor sleep can cause high blood pressure, which makes it difficult to lose weight and you may have less motivation to exercise.
The pandemic has had a significant impact on everyone’s life in different ways. Many people have been more stressed than usual as they deal with going to work and school online, etc. Therefore, chronic stress is another factor that can impact your heart health. To deal with stress from COVID-19, or stress in general, eating healthy, exercising, and getting at least 8 eight hours of sleep can help reduce stress.
Annual checkups and heart screenings are other ways to ensure heart healthiness. This is an effective way to know if your heart is healthy or not because the screenings can show underlying cardiac conditions, and can decrease the risk of future heart issues. I had my first screening the summer before my freshman year of high school. I was nervous because heart disease runs in my family and I had never done a test like that before. Thankfully, my heart was normal and healthy, and I continue to do heart-healthy things each day.
Eating healthy is something that is important to me as I try my best to fuel my body with the right nutrients. There are several foods that support heart health, like avocados, and I have quite the obsession with avocado toast. Other foods that are heart-healthy include leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale, berries, walnuts, beans, whole grains, and my favorite, dark chocolate. Adding any of these foods into meals each day will be beneficial for your heart and will support your body as well.
Here is a link to an easy recipe for making delicious avocado toast: https://gimmedelicious.com/how-to-make-the-best-avocado-toast-with-eggs/
So this February, and every month, let’s take care of our hearts. Just because it is national heart month does not mean we should only acknowledge heart health for one month out of the year. Not everyone knows heart disease is the leading killer for women across the nation. So, it is crucial women know about this and are educated on this issue. Being aware of heart disease and ways we can prevent it allows us to be proactive about this issue all year round.