Your heart is an engine, and your entire body relies on that engine to keep your energy revving and your health running on the right track. Because the heart is such a crucial muscle in the body, it’s just good sense to stick to a consistent regimen to ensure your ticker stays happy and strong for a long time. That said, maintaining healthy habits is often easier said than done. But it doesn’t have to be complicated. Implementing just a few simple practices every day can make a big difference in your heart health and overall wellbeing. So check out these simple yet effective ways to keep the beat of your heart strong and healthy.
About Heart-Healthy Habits
It’s been said that it takes a minimum of 21 days of repetitive action to create a healthy habit. While this could be true for some, the more realistic model is around 66+ days to solidify a healthy habit. In any case, whether it takes you 21 or 365 days, the time spent building wholesome routines in your daily life is time that extends your life. Every little positive choice or action you take is a choice that celebrates your wellbeing and supports your ability to enjoy life to the fullest.
The main take-away point about heart-healthy habits is all about starting small. Catapulting yourself into a complicated cardio plan while converting to an all organic, plant-based diet overnight can be daunting. While this enthusiasm for optimal heart health is admirable, starting simple is a far better strategy. Why? Because small steps are easier to manage and forge into healthy habits, whereas extreme changes to your health routine are harder to maintain, which may lead to failure or disappointment. Here are a few simple actions you can do every day that will ultimately become regular habits and result in a healthier heart.
Get Moving: As mentioned, you don’t need to rocket-launch yourself into a 3-hour kickboxing routine tomorrow to forge healthy habits in the future. Just move. Too often, we find ourselves sitting hours in front of a computer. Or we may lose track of time only to realize we’ve spent far too long binge-watching our favorite TV shows on the couch. The core concept behind “get moving” is simply being aware of inactivity and employing simple movements to get the blood flowing to your heart. Be mindful and start doing simple stretches every hour during your day. These can be as simple as standing up from your chair or couch, reaching your hands overhead, and taking in a few deep breaths. Next, gently move your legs, arms, neck, and torso in organic, circular motions to get your circulation going. As you continue to do this every day, you should begin to notice an elevation in energy and flexibility. As you increase mobility, think about adding more motion to your daily routine with more purposeful heart-healthy exercises.
Get Eating (Better): We all know the old adage “you are what you eat,” and it’s as accurate today as ever. The saying merely implies that eating fatty, unhealthy foods makes for an unhealthy heart. Stay mindful about what you put in your body, and commit to substituting sugary, fatty foods for fruits or leafy greens. You can make this commitment easier by starting simple and adding one new healthy food to your diet every week while giving up something that doesn’t honor your health. Before you know it, you’ve reinvented your diet, and you’ll be feeling fit as a fiddle.
Get Mellow: Stress is a leading cause of hypertension which leads to dangerous heart conditions. So do your heart a favor by incorporating blocks of time devoted to relaxation each day. Commit to chilling out with meditation, deep breathing, or simply taking time out to enjoy some peace and quiet. If you do not unplug easily, then try putting on some relaxing music away from the hustle-bustle of your regular day. The point here is to remove yourself from anxieties that build up every day, detach and get mellow. Doing this reduces blood pressure, and it’s a great way to keep your heart happy.
Get Checked: Depending upon your age or current condition of your health, it’s a good idea to get a complete check-up with your doctor to get an overview of your overall wellbeing. If doctors freak you out, you may want to opt for an at-home heart test that will give you a bead on your heart health so you can make intelligent choices going forward. Whichever route you take, it’s essential to fully understand your health so you can tailor your daily actions to suit your specific heart health needs.
No matter your health goals, these simple steps will help you get a leg-up in sustaining a healthy heart. Remember that progress, not perfection, is the ultimate goal. Be gentle and patient with yourself. Take tiny, easy actions every day and see how these choices add up to measurable positive results and a happy heart.
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