4 ways to improve your heart health

Runner crossing the finish line

At one time in life, you may have exercised regularly. But then work and family commitments began to fill up your calendar. Since then, your workout clothes have been gathering dust in the corner. You may think it’s impossible to jumpstart your fitness workout. But experts say it’s worth it, because exercise and nutritious foods impact your heart.

Follow these tips to improve your heart health.

  1. Stay off the sofa– At the end of a busy day, sitting on the sofa with the TV remote or a good book may sound like a great way to unwind. But it isn’t good for your heart. The heart muscle needs exercise to stay pliable and work efficiently. The best way to de-stress is to exercise. Doctors report that people who don’t exercise regularly are at greater risk for heart failure.
  2. Ease into exercise– You don’t need a professional workout plan to exercise. Try walking, biking, jogging or swimming at a mild to moderate pace for 30 minutes four to five days a week. Gradually increase the intensity. If you haven’t previously exercised, contact your doctor for a pre-workout checkup.
  3. Eat nutritiously– Adopting a regular exercise routine is a great step toward improving your heart health. The next important decision is to eat more nutritious foods. Skip fast-food meals and follow recommendations from Mayo Clinic for a heart-healthy diet. You’ll be amazed by how much better you feel.
  4. Increase strength training– After working out for several weeks, add strength training. While walking, jogging or biking, wear wrist or ankle weights of 1-2 pounds each. Gradually increase the weight by another 1-2 pounds. Within a few weeks, you should notice improved muscle tone.

Researchers report that people who start exercising when they’re younger, and maintain their workout schedule, will have a healthier heart as they age. However, the American Heart Association says it’s never too late to adopt a healthier lifestyle, and work toward moving briskly for 30 minutes each day.

American Heart Association