Cardiovascular health: Juggling a family and career has probably left you with little time to worry about yourself. Life is a balancing act, but our health should always come first. Now is the time to build heart-healthy habits. That means living a healthy lifestyle, including eating healthy, getting lots of physical activity and a full night’s sleep. Studies have shown that if we can avoid the conditions that put us at risk for heart disease until we turn 50, chances are good that we may never develop it. Make our health a priority.
High cholesterol, increased blood pressure, diabetes and smoking are all risk factors for heart disease. Making healthy and smart lifestyle choices in your 20s can improve your heart’s future substantially. Think about bringing these habits into your daily regimen to maintain a healthy heart in your 30s.
1. Pursue an active lifestyle that keeps you going
Physical inactivity is one of the leading causes of heart disease. Adding cardio activities like running, rowing, cycling, and swimming to your workout plan will improve your cardiac health. Cardiovascular workouts keep your heart rate elevated, which improves blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.
2. Eat balanced, healthy meals
Eating healthy means having balanced meals with plenty of nutrients from foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as well as proteins and dairy. Train your taste buds now to enjoy healthy foods to prevent excess weight gain that can increase your heart risk as you age. The American Heart Association recommends the following consumption of foods:
- Fruits and vegetables: At least 4.5 cups a day
- Fish (preferably oily fish, like salmon): At least two 3.5-ounce servings a week
- Fiber-rich whole grains: At least three 1-ounce servings a day
- Nuts, legumes and seeds: At least 4 servings a week, opting for unsalted varieties whenever possible
It is also important to minimize sodium and saturated fats and to avoid processed meats and sugary drinks to maintain a heart-healthy diet.
3. Reduce or stop smoking
An important risk factor for heart attack in young is cigarette smoking. It increases blood pressure and inflammation which promotes the deposition of fat in arteries. Even passive smoking is hazardous. Even in daily practice, a majority of patients with heart problems are smokers. The risk of heart disease starts to come down immediately after quitting and it reduces to 50 percent after a year of quitting smoking.
4. Keep stress away
Long-term stress causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure that may damage the artery walls. Understand what causes stress, and learn helpful stress management techniques for you to reduce stress at work or to reduce stress at home to soothe your mind and body. These techniques include deep breathing exercises, daily meditation and finding time each day to do something you enjoy.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice. Please consult a doctor before starting any fitness regime or medical advice.