Eight Tips for a Healthier Heart
Thirty-five million. That’s the number of times a person’s heart beats each year. This vital organ can be affected by heart disease, the leading cause of death in America. During 2022, heart disease claimed the lives of 699,659 people.1 But you can take steps to improve your heart health, and your overall health, and reduce the risk of serious illness and medical complications. Explore eight ways to improve your heart health.
Understand your risk factors for heart disease. Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to get a checkup and a heart disease risk assessment. Some risk factors, like a family history of heart disease, are out of your control, but your provider may find other factors that can be treated with medication or lifestyle changes. If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol and you are prescribed medication, take it regularly.2
Eat healthy. You don’t have to say farewell forever to your favorite foods. But do eat more fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Avoid excess salt, saturated fat, and added sugar. Natural sugar in fruit, for instance, is okay. But you’d be surprised how many foods have added sugars in them, like ketchup, salad dressings, low-fat yogurt, and sports drinks.3
Move more. If you love working out at the gym, great! But you don’t have to go to a fitness class or spend hours on the elliptical machine if you dread that sort of exercise. Dancing, walking, swimming, yoga, and even gardening are all good ways to be physically active.4
Quit tobacco. Stop smoking and stop chewing tobacco. Even if you’ve smoked for decades, within a day of quitting, your risk of heart disease will already drop! After you’ve stopped smoking for one year, your heart disease risk is cut in half. If you don’t smoke, don’t start! Additionally, avoid being around smoke.5
Drink less alcohol. Excessive drinking contributes to many diseases, including heart disease. If you do choose to drink alcohol, drink moderately, which means two drinks or less a day for men and one drink or less a day for women.6
Sleep better. Being tired doesn’t feel good. Prioritize sleep. Go to bed at a regular time. Block out light with blackout curtains or an eye mask. Keep your room cool and quiet. Aim for seven hours of sleep a night or more. If you do sleep seven hours or more nightly on a regular basis but you still feel tired, talk to your healthcare provider to be assessed for sleep apnea.5
Manage your stress. Everyone gets stressed from time to time. But if you endure chronic stress, focus on lowering your stress level. You can try talking to a therapist, taking a walk, doing breathing exercises, getting a massage, and meditating. Try different tactics until you find a way to relax.7
Maintain a healthy weight. Losing weight can be challenging. Luckily, all of the steps for improving your heart health are also steps for weight loss and weight maintenance! By taking action to keep your heart healthy, you’re also taking action for a healthy weight.8
If you want to help communities understand the risks of heart disease and how to take steps for a healthier heart, you might be interested in a career in public health. A Master of Public Health (MPH) degree can prepare you to pursue roles such as public health administrator, policymaker, educator, or researcher. Walden University offers an online master’s degree in public health that is accredited by CEPH, the Council on Education for Public Health.
In this public health online master’s degree program, you will have the opportunity to learn from practicing public health experts who hold doctoral degrees. You’ll also have the chance to analyze data and develop solutions to issues in the field. The curriculum is designed to be cutting-edge, engaging, and challenging, featuring case studies on current public health issues. Your online classes will be infused with diverse perspectives from students from all around the world.
If you want to develop the skills to address emerging challenges in public health and build the skills to create effective public health programs and policies, choose Walden’s Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.
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