American Heart Month

Is Your Heart as Healthy as You Think?

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It’s American Heart Month– Is Your Heart as Healthy as You Think?

February is American Heart Month– a reminder to review your daily routine and adjust any habits that could be impacting your heart health. Below, we’ve compiled the seven best tips to keep your heart healthy! 

 

Recognize the symptoms

 

Unfortunately, heart issues can affect anyone at any time– so it is especially important to understand the possible symptoms. Seek medical attention immediately if you’re encountering the most extreme of symptoms such as: acute chest pain/tightness/pressure, shortness of breath, pain or numbness in your arms or legs, or severe pain in the neck, jaw, throat, abdomen, or back. 

If you experience any of the above symptoms, it could be a sign that you’re having a cardiac event such as a heart attack. Or, it could be signaling that you are developing something like heart disease. Either way, it’s best to address your doctor immediately and make them aware of these symptoms. 

 

Eat clean

 

The path to a healthy heart starts with a clean diet. Take the time to really sit down and consider all of the things you eat throughout any given week. Do you consume a lot of processed foods, fatty meats, simple carbs, and sugary sweets? If so, they may be contributing to excess weight and clogged arteries– two of the biggest culprits of causing heart attacks and heart disease. 

Over time, slowly swap out these foods for healthier alternatives. Making one small change at a time is important– if you make too many changes too quickly, it will be more difficult to successfully adapt to the change. If you don’t know where to start when it comes to nutrition and finding balance in your diet, we have a team of nutrition consultants who are qualified to guide you into a world of healthier nutritional choices.  Many of our members will consult a certified weight loss program such as Weight Watchers which may be beneficial by educating you about different foods. Developing a healthy diet will help to lower your body fat percentage and decrease your risk of developing heart disease. As an added bonus, you will likely find that you feel less bloated and foggy day to day, and instead, more energized and focused! 

 

Get exercise 

 

It’s no surprise that diet and exercise go hand in hand when it comes to a healthy heart. Of course, exercise aids in weight loss which in turn promotes clear and healthy arteries, but it also helps to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control. 

The best type of exercise for a healthy heart is a combination of mixed cardio and yoga. Different types of mixed cardio include high-intensity interval training (HIIT), running, walking, swimming, kickboxing, cardio boot camps, and sports. Finishing your workout with stretching or yoga is a great added bonus for your heart health as it helps you control your breathing and promotes oxygen flow to the heart and throughout the body. Click here to view our group classes and find a cardio workout that fits into your schedule! We have an incredible team of Certified Personal Trainers who’ll help coach you into better heart health!

 

Quit unhealthy habits

 

Now is the time to be honest with yourself about the habits you have developed or are in the process of developing. Are you a smoker or binge drinker? Or, are you someone who copes with stress by using food to numb uncomfortable feelings? Worse yet, are you someone who uses drugs regularly or “even once in a while” in social situations?

All of these habits are not only detrimental to your overall physical and mental health, but also over time they can take a number on your heart. These habits are truly the gateway to high blood pressure, heart attacks, cardiac arrest, heart disease, and stroke. Much like losing weight, replacing unhealthy habits with healthy ones is very difficult to do on your own. Confide in someone you can trust like a spouse, sibling, parent, close friend, or medical professional/counselor to support you in your journey. Not only will your heart thank you for letting go of these habits, but your mental state and overall wellness will get a boost, too! 

We’re here to help you stay happy and healthy.  Please speak with Wellness Director Tracy Riley for advice.  tracy@worcesterfitness.com

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