Blue EKG-type readout in the shape of a heart with text overlay: 10 Ways to Show Your Heart Some Love

10 Ways To Show Your Heart Some Love

It’s almost Valentine’s Day and hearts are everywhere! We always think of our hearts as the place where our emotions live, but they’re so much more than that. They’re also the workhorses of the body. Did you know that your heart pumps around 2,000 gallons of blood through your body each day? In this month that celebrates love, let’s show our hearts a little love.

With the pandemic, taking care of our hearts is more important than ever. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institue (1) says, “Focusing on your heart health has never been more important. People with poor cardiovascular health are also at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.”

Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States?

According to healthy people.gov “currently more than 1 in 3 adults (85.6 million) live with 1 or more types of cardiovascular disease.”  “In addition to being the first and fifth leading causes of death, heart disease and stroke result in serious illness and disability” and “decreased quality of life….” That’s pretty scary, isn’t it? It’s especially distressing because so many of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease are things we’re doing to ourselves.

Things That May Increase Our Risk Of Heart Disease

There are some things that we know are risk factors for heart disease. Some of them are:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Not getting enough physical activity
  • Not eating a healthy diet
  • Untreated health conditions, such as diabetes

That’s the bad news. Now for the good news: Heart disease can often be prevented by making healthy lifestyle choices and managing health conditions. Let’s take a look at a few things that may help us reduce our risk.

10 Ways We Can Show Our Hearts Some Love

1. Know your numbers. 

We’ve probably all heard the saying that what we don’t know can’t hurt us, While that may be true in some cases, it certainly is not in this one. It’s important to know our blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose numbers, as each of these can contribute to heart health or heart disease.

2. Manage blood pressure. 

Keeping our blood pressure within normal ranges can reduce strain on our circulatory system. This helps reduce one of the major risk factors.

3.Keep cholesterol within healthy ranges.

We need to work with our medical team to make sure not only our total cholesterol, but our LDL and HDL cholesterol, as well as our triglycerides are at the desired level.

4. Keep blood sugar under control.

Chronic, high levels of glucose in the blood can damage our hearts, kidneys, and other organs.

5. Eat healthfully. 

Diet plays a huge role in our overall health, and eating a heart-healthy diet can help us feel our best and reduce our risk of heart disease.

6. Get (or stay) active. 

The recommended level of activity is currently 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, but if you’re not there, don’t stress about it. Remember, something is better than nothing. Every little bit of movement helps. Just start where you are and build up slowly.

7. Stay at a healthy weight. 

Maintaining a healthy weight helps us reduce stress on our heart and other organs, as well as our musculoskeletal system.

8. Reduce stress. 

Let’s face it – stress puts a strain not just on our mental health, but can increase inflammation in the body, which can begin to affect our hearts.

9. Don’t smoke, and avoid second-hand smoke.

Smoking can greatly increase our risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and even if we’re not smoking ourselves, breathing in someone else’s smoke can do the same damage.

10. If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation.

Although some studies have shown that red wine can be beneficial for heart health, studies have also shown that too much alcohol can damage our hearts and other organs. “Moderate” alcohol consumption is defined as no more than 1 drink per day for women and no more than 2 drinks per day for men.

These are some of the simplest ways to take care of our hearts. If you’d like more information, the American Heart Association has a wonderful resource to help us take small steps toward heart health, called Life’s Simple 7. (3) They include seven steps we can take to improve our cardiovascular health, and with each step, they have links that take you to resources that can help with each one.

During this “month of love” and throughout the year, let’s show our hearts some love. One way we can do that is to make a commitment to be more intentional about our heart health, and do things that help us strengthen our hearts and weaken our risks.

Is heart health something you think about? Do you know your numbers? What are some of the ways you care for your heart? Please share!

Blessings,

~Terri

Sources:

(1) https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/education-and-awareness/american-heart-month/about

(2) https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/heart-disease-and-stroke?_ga=2.126190283.798716364.1581523326-2106917355.1581523326

(3) https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/my-life-check–lifes-simple-7?NavID=5&CultureCode=en-US

If you found this helpful, I’d love for you to share!

Heart-shaped white bowl filled with blueberries surrounded by strawberries with text overlay: 10 Ways to Show Your Heart Some Love

12 comments

  1. Thank you so much for posting this! My mom was just diagnosed with coronary artery disease. These tips will help!

  2. Very timely information. I needed to read this today and share it. Thank you. Also I will wear my red pin this month for healthy heart month.

  3. The heart is always a major concern when thinking about your health. I think most of us when we think about ourselves and our well being put this at the top of the list. Your post is a great reminder that stress is also a factor in the care of your heart. That’s the one thing that I’ve been trying to manage but it’s rough. I’m a worrier at heart so it’s hard for me to not over stress on things. But I’m trying my hardest to work on it. As always Terri, a very informative post!

    1. Thanks so much Mark! I know what you mean about being a worrier at heart. I’m wired the same way, and it’s hard sometimes not to get stressed out over things. We just have to find those things that help us deal with the stress, and that can be different for everybody. My prayer journal and getting regular exercise seem to help me the most, but everyone’s different. Hope you and your family are staying safe and well dear friend!

  4. Yes, to answer you question Terri, I do know my numbers & have put your great suggestions into place over the last few years. 😀
    I also make time for my mind, emotions & spiritual heart with the right spiritual diet, activity & rest ratio for a healthy mind & spirit 😉 which positively impacts my physical heart.
    Blessings,
    Jennifer

    1. Thanks so much for sharing Jennifer! I’m glad you’re doing so well with your wellness efforts over these last few years. You make such a great point about how taking care of your spirit, mind and body impacts your physical heart as well. Stay safe and well sweet friend. Blessings to you!

  5. Fantastic tips, and one of the best things we can do for ourselves this Valentine’s by checking how we’re treating our hearts. I’m good with some of these, not so good with others (like stress and smoking). Sadly walking has reduced because of the pandemic, which I’m sure many of us have found, but I try to take my supplements more regularly, opt for ‘healthier’ foods and enough fruits, etc. It’s good to know what bits you can do with working on a little more. xx

    1. Thanks so much Caz! I’m sure a lot of people have had the same experience with not being able to get out and walk as much because of the pandemic. I’m lucky because I can walk around my neighborhood and barely see anyone. Of course, it’s cold here right now, so I don’t walk outside as much. It sounds like you’re doing several things to make sure you stay as healthy as possible. Hope you’re staying safe and as well as possible sweet friend. Hugs!

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