5 Habits that Support a Healthy Heart

Simple habits to incorporate that support heart health, including how Fountain City Fitness can support you in achieving better heart health
February 19, 2024
5 Habits that Support a Healthy Heart

Every 40 seconds, someone has a heart attack in the United States. That means that, during a standard FCF class, 90 people will have had a heart attack, many of which are silent (meaning that the individual is not aware that they have had a heart attack, but the damage occurs). There are several factors that could increase the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease or heightened risk of heart attack or stroke:

Lifestyle changes drive down risk of major cardiac event

Our daily actions stack up in favor or against a healthy heart. How we manage stress, how we nourish our body, and how we prioritize sleep and movement can all make significant improvements in blood pressure and heart health, regardless of age. In particular, there are 5 habits that can make a significant difference in keeping your ticker healthy:

  1. Increase intake of vegetables and fruits 

Regardless of what your current diet looks like, the small action of adding one more serving of vegetables and/or fruits helps prioritize heart health. In particular, vegetables have been studied to reduce inflammation within the body, regulate blood pressure, and sustain level blood glucose levels. Dark, leafy vegetables (cabbage, kale, spinach), beets, as well as cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts) contain nutrients that help support cardiovascular function. If you’re looking for support to incorporate more vegetables and fruits into your diet, schedule a nutrition consultation with us to find an approach that works for you.

  1. Incorporate effective methods of managing stress

Stress levels are at epidemic levels, and none of us are immune to the effects of stress from time-to-time. Too often, we ignore stress or “barrel-through”, failing to address the impact of stress as well as root causes of stress. While stress management is a hot topic of the moment, and social media threads full of new and complicated ways to manage stress, we keep things simple at Fountain City. Studies find that deep breathing, daily walks, and positive human connection are all simple ways of interrupting stress and keeping it in check.

  1. Create - and keep - a consistent sleep schedule

According to the American Heart Association, poor sleep is associated with risk factors, such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. Why is this the case? The body performs many important functions during deep sleep that help the body recover from the wear and tear of the day, keeping organs and systems running properly. When the body doesn’t have enough time spent in deep sleep at night, those organs and systems cannot recover properly, and experience degradation over time. Recent studies also found that variable bedtimes resulted in minimal growth hormone secreted during sleep, which significantly reduces the body’s ability to recover.

  1. Cut back on tobacco and alcohol use

Chemicals in cigarette smoke cause the blood to thicken, making you more susceptible to blood clots. Drinking alcohol is linked with increasing fat content within blood cells, similarly increasing risk for blood clots and heart attack. Whether your goal is to go cold turkey, or simply cut back on your use, a little goes a long way in heart health.

  1. Exercise regularly

Sometimes, we overcomplicate exercise, treating it as a punishment or a penance we must pay in exchange for the promise of better health. To the contrary, studies have found that moderate exercise for 180 minutes each week is adequate for optimizing blood pressure levels. What does moderate level mean? Imagine walking with a friend and feeling slightly uncomfortable while keeping up a regular conversation; you might need to take a few extra breaths. That’s moderate level activity. Studies have also found that maintaining muscle mass helps support metabolic health. At Fountain City Fitness, we meet you where you are in your journey of exercise, and program movements and workouts that prioritize your long-term health to keep you feeling strong and encouraged. To learn more or get started, book a No Sweat Intro with us today.

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