(WellnessPursuits.com) – If you think good heart health means leading a boring life of constant focus on exercise and nutrition, think again. As it turns out, shaking things up with more focus on a couple of fun things could be the key to cardiovascular health.
Don’t trade your fruit breakfast for cake just yet, because exercise and nutrition are as important as ever, but do consider any or all of the additional steps cardiologists want you to know about below.
Three additonal simple things you can do that may help protect your heart even more. Make sure you:
- Stay hydrated. Your body needs to remain hydrated to keep your electrolytes in balance and regulate your blood pressure. Each person’s needs vary, but the Mayo Clinic recommends anywhere from 11.5 cups per day for women to 15.5 cups for men; though this does include all liquids, including the ones in your soups and foods. If you don’t care for drinking water, consider getting creative with fruits or additives that can change the flavor. Make sure you keep water nearby if you’re working outdoors or exercising. Those of us with kidney, liver, thyroid, and heart conditions need to be careful about our water intake. Talk to your doctor to make sure you don’t have any fluid restrictions.
- Stay socially active. Believe it or not, studies have shown those of us with active social schedules tend to live longer, healthier lives than those who remain isolated. Why? People who aren’t active tend to have unhealthy habits, including binge eating, smoking or even drinking. They’re often more depressed than others as well. As a bonus, people who use diversity in their interactions are less likely to become ill when they’ve been exposed to a cold virus. If this is a struggle for you, consider challenging yourself to meet up with a friend once a week or join a monthly group or meet and greet.
- Get plenty of sleep. We all make excuses for lost sleep, but getting enough really should be a priority. Chronic insomnia has been linked to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. Disorders like sleep apnea can also increase those risks, and studies show people who sleep less than six hours per night are more likely to develop high blood pressure. Premenopausal women struggling with insomnia may develop chronic inflammatory diseases. Make sure you are turning off electronics an hour before bed, reducing caffeine consumption in the late afternoons and evenings, and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule.
Yes, eating and healthy diet and getting enough exercise is important, and you just may be able to influence your own heart health even more with these other small changes.
Talk to your doctor if you’re having trouble sleeping, find creative ways to stay hydrated, and keep your social calendar full. You may be surprised at just how big a difference these things make not just to your heart, but your overall quality of life.
Here’s To Your Vibrant Life!