February is the month that we talk about Heart Health! Here at Dispensaries we like to encourage all our patients to live a healthy lifestyle. Seems odd coming from a pharmacy but we believe in disease prevention not just management.
Being proactive about protecting your heart doesn’t have to involve a huge lifestyle overhaul.Here are four heart-healthy habits you can easily incorporate into your everyday life.
If you are among the 20 to 30 percent of U.S. adults who, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, regularly skip breakfast, you’re missing out on an opportunity to boost your heart health. The American Heart Association points to research evidence that people who eat breakfast are less likely to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, two major risk factors for heart disease.
A study published in the April 2019 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that subjects who skipped the morning meal had an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
You can reverse that course by pausing from your morning rush to eat breakfast. To make it healthy, quick and delicious, try these ideas:
- Top a bowl of whole-grain cereal and fruit with low-fat milk or layer them in a glass with some yogurt to make a breakfast parfait.
- Spread a whole-grain waffle or English muffin with nut butter and pair it with a fruit
- Have a quick protein smoothie with veggies in it such as spinach, kale, celery, beets or zucchini (celery and zucchini will not change the colour and you can't taste them!).
- Make quinoa fruit salad the night before for a filling breakfast the next day
- Mash half of a ripe avocado on your toast and add a slice of tomato. Voila avocado toast!
Even if you rarely make it to the gym and your home exercise machines are gathering dust, you can keep your body and heart fit simply by doing more of something you do all the time: walking. An article from Harvard Medical School cites that walking decreases heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, vascular stiffness and inflammation.
Many fitness experts set 10,000 steps a day as the benchmark, while the average individual only covers 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day.
Use you FitBit, smart watch or good old pedometer and adopt these habits to take your daily steps a higher level:
- During TV commercials, climb the stairs a few times or walk around the house picking up clutter. Challenge yourself to take something up or down the stairs, tidy one thing up etc while a commercial is on. If you are binging Netflix....take a walk and stretch between shows. Ideally outside!
- Our phones don't have cords anymore so why not walk and talk at home.
- Walk a different trail in the city. Edmonton is full of trails for all levels.
- Walk with a friend or a pet for some company and extra motivation.
Laugh Out Loud
A hearty laugh is good for your heart. As the American Heart Association reports, laughter may reduce stress hormones, decrease inflammation of the arteries and increase levels of good cholesterol. Laughter also increases your blood flow and oxygen intake, which stimulates the heart and other organs, according to the Mayo Clinic. Who knew?!
Let the Music Play
Music is a great energizer for a working out, but it provides other heart health benefits, too. Studies have shown that listening to music may improve blood vessel function by relaxing the arteries, along with helping the heart rate and blood pressure return to normal faster after physical exertion, according to Harvard Medical school.
A study at Massachusetts General Hospital revealed that music helps those who have already had a heart attack or other heart problems lower their blood pressure, heart rate, stress and anxiety.
Of course if you or someone you love is at risk of a heart attack. While taking steps to improve their cardiac health it doesn't hurt to be prepared, call one of our locations or drop by to pick up a SMHeart Card. For information visit: https://smheartcard.ca