February is Heart Month!
Just like any other muscle in the body, the heart gets fatigued when it has to work too hard. Lucky for us, the recovery time for cardiac muscle is very short. However, if the heart has to work overtime just to get us through our daily routine, it’s eventually going to give up. The good news: reducing your resting heart rate by just 1 beat per minute will save you 525,600 heart beats over the course of a year – that’s a huge reduction in your heart’s workload! And the easier your heart has it each year, the longer it will serve you.
Here are a few other ways to make life easier on your heart:
- Lower your cholesterol. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol can coat the insides of your arteries, reducing their elasticity and increasing resistance to blood flow.
- Decrease your resting heart rate. Cardiovascular exercise is the best way to train your heart to be more efficient. 20 to 30 minutes three times a week is all you need to see a tremendous improvement.
- Lower your blood pressure. High blood pressure puts additional stress on the entire cardiovascular (CV) system.
- Cut back on caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant, and will elevate your heart rate. Try reducing your intake of tea and coffee, or switch to decaf.
- Reduce your intake of saturated fats. Saturated fat plugs arteries – stick to leaner cuts of meat, and avoid deep fried foods.
- Reduce your intake of salt. Excess sodium in your blood stream has been shown to increase blood pressure.
- Exercise, exercise, exercise. Regular cardiovascular exercise will not only increase the strength and efficiency of your heart, but also help to improve your general health (so your heart doesn’t outlast the rest of your body!)