Heart disease is the cause of one in four deaths. For survivors entering rehabilitation therapy, preventing another attack is high on their list of priorities. With so many people affected, it’s no wonder why people are looking for ways to protect themselves from a first (or repeat) attack. Trying out a new weight loss exercise at home isn’t the only heart-healthy habit people can adopt. Here’s what you can do to stay in touch with your heart this Valentine’s Day:
Get Your 7-9 Hours of Sleep
Sleep is the time when your body rests and heals. However, to do this, it needs the proper amount of time. Sleep happens in stages, and getting plenty of sleep in the crucial third stage— when your immune system is restored — requires plenty of time set aside each night. Although it varies for everyone, the average adult needs between seven to nine hours each night to maintain heart health.
Detox Your Environment
Daily, seemingly small triggers can have a lasting impact on your health.
Change your environment to remove any negative factors that could be influencing your health for the worse. Stress from work or pressure from external sources will add unnecessary strain on your mental health, which, in turn, affects your heart.
Rehabilitation therapy is the safest way to get moving again after heart disease disrupts your life. A licensed physical therapist will ease you back into an active lifestyle immediately following a heart attack. Those who are proactive about preventing their first attack can benefit from an active lifestyle as well. Activities like yoga, walking, and swimming help improve blood flow.
High on Fiber, Low on Sodium
A number of factors that increase your chances of heart disease are beyond control. Many, like family history, can’t be erased. But those who fall under a high-risk for heart disease category can still take steps to lower their chances of heart disease. Diet plays a huge role in shifting the unfair balance. Many people go straight to working out to shed excess pounds without focusing on their diet. Ignoring your food habits can do a lot of harm. Every calorie consumed should have a purpose. A diet consisting of foods high in fiber yet low in sodium will keep hearts clear of blood clots and reduce strain on aortic functions. And don’t cut out fats just yet. Healthy fats, like those found in avocados and olive oil, boost heart health when used in moderation.
Surprisingly, regular trips to the dentist can impact your chance of having a heart attack. Proper oral hygiene (that means flossing!) reduces plaque levels, which is one of the leading culprits behind a heart attack.
Stock Up on Vitamin C
As if you needed another reason to avoid catching the flu, colds, and other illnesses lower your immune system, which makes it harder for your heart to take care of itself.
The following 10 foods are great natural sources of Vitamin C:
- Chili peppers
- Sweet yellow peppers
Slow and Steady
With so many ways to boost heart health, it’s easy to want to jump right into a huge lifestyle overhaul. Yet, that might not be in your best interest.
Rehabilitation therapy focuses on getting heart disease survivors moving at a pace that won’t do any damage. For those looking to start from scratch, slow and steady wins the race. Making gradual changes will help you integrate healthy habits for good.
Take each change one small step at a time. If you’re just starting a weight loss exercise at home, don’t sign up for a triathlon this weekend. Instead, begin with ten-minute walks around the block.
Dieting? Integrate high-fiber food slowly so you don’t upset your digestive system with a big change. Relieving stress? Focus on one area at a time, such as your work life.
If you’re looking for the right rehabilitation therapy to help you recover from the effects of heart disease or just want professional help to get you moving again, schedule an appointment with one of our licensed physical therapists. We’ll be happy to get you back on track.