Did you know that one U.S. citizen succumbs to cardiovascular diseases every 36 seconds?
It’s a scary thing to think about, especially because many heart attacks are silent. The good news: there are plenty of ways to avoid becoming a part of this statistic. You’ve likely heard of some already, such as exercising and keeping a healthy diet.
Want to dig a little deeper? Here are four less-talked-about healthy habits for your heart.
1. Don’t Sit For Too Long
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Regardless of how much exercise you do, sitting for too long at a time is bad for your heart health. Sitting a lot slows down your blood flow, which leads to fatty acids building up in your vessels. This increases your risk of heart problems and developing blood clots.
This is why you should move throughout the day wherever possible. Take more walks, park further away from your office, and use a standing desk. If you do spend most of your day sitting, get up and walk around for a few minutes here and there.
2. Avoid Trans Fats
Plenty of fats are good for you, but trans fats don’t belong in that group. They raise your bad cholesterol levels (LDL), clogging your arteries in the process. The more trans fats you consume, the higher your chances are of getting a stroke.
Most trans fats occur in industry-processed foods, such as margarine and potato chips. They’re usually added for texture and flavor. Make an effort to avoid trans fats by paying more attention to the ingredients list on the food labels.
3. Avoid Secondhand Smoke
We all know smoking is bad for cardiovascular health, but secondhand smoke can be almost as bad. The issue here is that the chemicals emitted from smoke build up plaque in your arteries. Exposure to smoke leads to almost 35,000 heart disease deaths a year.
If you already have high blood pressure or cholesterol, do your best to avoid exposure to smoke. If you have friends or relatives who smoke, tell them to do it outside. Before going somewhere, look for smoke-free hotels, restaurants, and rental cars.
4. Get Enough Sleep
A good night’s sleep is great for a lot of things, including heart health. Regardless of your age, sleeping too little makes heart disease more likely. This causes disruptions in your underlying biological processes, such as blood pressure.
For best results, try to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep most nights. If you use certain types of medication such as beta-blockers, it’s okay to settle for less. With beta-blockers in particular, a nightly dose of melatonin may help with sleep issues.
More on Healthy Habits for Your Heart
Working these habits into your daily routine can do wonders for your heart. This is particularly true if you’ve already had a heart attack. In these situations, an ounce of prevention is worth even more than a pound of cure!
Looking for more healthy habits for a strong heart? Interested in learning why a moderate diet lowers the risk of heart disease? Keep reading our Health section!