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If you have a serious medical condition involving your heart, it may take a great deal of effort to improve your heart health. If you don’t already have a serious condition, however, a few small steps can go a long way towards improving your overall heart health and help prevent a number of more serious conditions.
Heart health has also been proven to have a strong link to cognitive function as well, so many of the same things that protect your heart also protect your brain. Here are 3 small lifestyle changes you can make to help improve your heart health – and maybe help protect your brain in the process.
1. Get Plenty of Rest
One early sign of heart disease is a buildup of calcium in your arteries. In one study of younger to middle-aged adults, those who got approximately 7 hours of good-quality sleep per night showed significantly less calcium build-up in their arteries than those who slept less than 6 hours or more than 9. There was also a marked difference between those who slept soundly and those who didn’t. If you don’t sleep well or wake up feeling refreshed after a night’s sleep, you may want to talk to your doctor about some strategies or remedies.
2. Keep it Moving
As little as 30 minutes a day of moderate exercises, such as a brisk walk, can go a long way towards improving and maintaining overall heart health. This is particularly important for people that have sedentary jobs or spend most of their time seated. While 30 minutes of brisk movement can offer a serious improvement to overall heart health, it doesn’t have as much of an impact if you spend the other 23.5 hours just sitting. Try and break up long periods of sitting by standing, moving, or walking.
3. Mind Your Emotional Health
While we all know that the heart is not actually the place in which emotions reside, the truth is your emotions play a significant role in overall heart health. Stress, in particular, has a particularly detrimental effect on heart health. There are a number of ways to help out your heart by managing your emotions. These range from minimizing the causes of stress in your life to volunteering to spend more time with the ones you love and doing things that you love. In a strange twist of irony, the more you enjoy your life, the better the effect it has on your heart.
While there are a number of genetic and biological factors that affect heart health that may not be so easy to overcome, you can make some changes to try to protect your heart. Getting plenty of rest and moderate exercise and living your life to the fullest can all go a long way towards keeping your ticker in good working order over the long haul.
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This article provides general information and discussion about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this article, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. Consult your own physician for any medical issues that you may be having.