Everyone knows that exercise is good for weight loss and helping you build muscles, but it is more important than that. Apart from fat loss and muscle building, exercise is one of the most important activities that can help a person’s heart stay healthy.
However, exercise is not the only way to keep and maintain a healthy heart. There are other ways you can get into today that can help you preserve and keep your heart healthy as long as you live.
In this article, we will go through some of these ways to keep your heart healthy after understanding the function of the heart and why it is important for you to have a healthy heart.
The Function of the Human Heart
The human heart is an organ in the body that is responsible for pumping blood to all parts of the body through a network of veins and arteries. It is just about the size of a fist and is located behind and to the left of the breastbone.
Why is it Important to Have a Healthy Heart?
In many parts of the world, heart disease is a leading cause of death. For this reason, it is important that you take steps to keep your heart healthy at all times. Nobody is too young or too old to start working on keeping a healthy heart, and it’s always better sooner than later.
The most common heart disease is called Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) or Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). It happens when the coronary arteries or tubes meant to take blood to the heart are blocked by fatty materials or cholesterol (this is why exercise is important for fat loss in the body). These fatty materials, called plaques, can also be caused by high blood pressure and smoking. When they block an artery, it makes it difficult for blood to flow to the heart, leading to chest pain or heart attack.
What You Should do to Keep your Heart Healthy
As stated before, the focus on keeping and maintaining a healthy heart should start early. You don’t have to wait until you are in your late 50s or 60s before you start keeping an eye on your heart health. Some of the ways you can start keeping your heart healthy are:
Exercise helps you with weight loss, but that’s not the only thing it is good for. Since your heart is an organ that pumps blood every second, it needs to do so efficiently, or you might have serious problems. Exercise strengthens the heart as it does to other muscles of the body, making it efficient to pump more blood through your arteries for every beat. This helps ensure that your heart beats slower and your blood pressure is kept under control (remember, high blood pressure is a major cause of CHD).
Another thing that exercise does is to cause fat loss in the body, making it difficult for your blood vessels to get clogged by fatty materials or plaques.
Exercise also helps create stronger networks and connections between blood vessels, making it easier for blood to flow through your system even when some of them may be clogged.
There is more good news: You don’t have to work as hard as you think. You don’t have to register in a gym or get intricate workout routines. All you need is 30 minutes of light exercise every day (walking, for example), as long as you are consistent with it, and you will have a healthier heart.
Nowadays, people are more concerned about eating healthy because of the weight loss benefits it offers, but there is more to eating healthy than keeping your weight under control. Healthy food helps prevent plaques from growing rapidly to clog arteries and other blood vessels so that your heart can pump blood more efficiently. Exercising can be a waste of time if you keep eating foods that are detrimental to your heart health and your health in general.
Some foods you should avoid are fried foods, gravy, butter, processed meat (and all kinds of processed food for that matter), pastries, and other kinds of junk food like sweets, chocolates, and chips.
Healthy foods you should eat include foods that are low in sodium, added sugars, and saturated fats, for example, veggies, fruits, whole grains, and certain fats (like the one in fish). The fat loss you enjoy from healthy eating is also another reason you should consider doing it.
Alcohol intake increases your risk of heart disease tremendously. If you have to take alcohol, then take it in moderation. This usually means about one or two glasses a day (usually one a day for women and two a day for men).
It is important you know your family medical history and present this information to your doctor when you go for regular checkups. These checkups have your doctor checking your cholesterol level, sugar level, and blood pressure. These are numbers you should know and work on keeping at a healthy level.
Good Mental Health
As you focus on weight loss, muscle growth, and other parts of your physical health, try to pay attention to your mental health. Anxiety can cause high blood pressure if it is not managed well and even with your physical body in the best of conditions. See a therapist if you feel like your anxiety or depression is getting out of control.
If you want to live a long and fulfilling life, you must pay attention to your heart health, whether you like to or not. Balance your emotional and physical health as well as you can. That means focus on fat loss, but at the same time, make sure you are not stressing yourself to death. Most importantly, know your family’s heart history, visit your doctor regularly to check your levels, know your heart numbers (cholesterol, blood pressure) and do everything within your power to keep them at a healthy level.