The human heart is only about the size of your fist, but it’s a pretty big deal.
Drawing a heart is a universal sign for love. We feel our heart race when we’re nervous or excited, letting us know that our body is ready for something to happen. We buy gadgets that will play the soothing sound of a heartbeat to help our babies fall asleep.
Although usually in the background, our hearts are at the center of our everyday lives, especially if they’re not functioning properly. After all, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, and if you’re at risk, you may be working on eating a heart-healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and lowering stress. That’s great, because every healthy choice you make reduces your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
But how much is enough? Good question, and good news is here! There are a lot of ways to improve your heart health, and some of them are easier (and more fun) than you might expect.
Research conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information has found that spending time with others can improve your chances of avoiding heart disease or surviving a heart attack. Social interaction and connectedness play an important role in overall health, especially considering the role of positive, healthy relationships in stress and fending off depression, both of which are linked to heart disease.
Watch a Funny Movie
When you relax after work, do you flip on the television? Look for something that tickles your funny bone. According to Harvard Health, laughter really can be the best medicine. When you laugh, your blood vessels relax and expand, getting a good workout of their own. For bonus benefits, watch TV with a friend or family member!
Never Miss a Monday Meditation
For decades, health experts believed that Monday mornings were prime time for heart attacks, because of the surge of cortisol — also known as the stress hormone — that happens when the alarm rings and the work day begins. But, a study published in Heart Rhythm Magazine shows that the cumulative cost of our stressful and fast-paced world has distributed the risk of heart attack beyond Monday. This isn’t exactly good news, but you can combat it by beginning your Mondays with a habit that is proven to reduce your risk. A meditation practice can help lower your resting heart rate.
Dance Like Nobody's Watching
A 2016 study that tracked participants for nine years found that those who played racket sports had the lowest risk of dying from any cause. After racquet sports, people who engaged in swimming, aerobics, and dancing had similar advantages. The researchers believe this is a result of these activities engaging both the upper and lower body, which pushes the heart to work harder. Every form of exercise improves your heart health, and we encourage you to choose whatever you enjoy the most and do it often!
Put your hand to your heart and feel it working. It will beat over 115,000 times each day, pumping about 2,000 gallons of blood through your amazing, vibrant body. It may be small, but it is mighty. And, it can get stronger and mightier with your help. Contact your Wellview Health Advisor today to make a plan to strengthen your heart; we are good for you, too.
Click HERE to learn more about the Wellview services available to you. We can’t wait to work with you!
Heather Fuselier, CHWC, CFP, TTS
Health Advisor | Email Heather