Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the US, and it can affect people at almost any age! According to the Centers for Disease Control, 49% of Americans have at least one risk factor for developing heart disease, including diabetes, being overweight, having a poor diet, not being active or drinking excessively.
There are many small changes you can make in your everyday life to help increase the health of your heart. Small changes are the best place to start, because each change can be easily incorporated in your lifestyle, rather than asking people to make big changes that can be more jarring and harder to implement. Here are 10 small, easy changes you can make to help increase your overall heart health.
1. Eat one extra fruit or vegetable a day. Fruits and veggies, particularly those in season, taste great and are good for your whole body, including your heart. Try adding berries into your cereal in the morning, or a small salad at lunch, and you’ve met this goal already. For Kendal-Crosslands Communities residents, you can even consider growing cherry tomatoes on your patio this year, or going to one of the many local farmer’s markets to get great, locally sourced produce you’ll love!
2. Start your day with a great breakfast. Having whole grains like cereal or whole wheat toast and fruit can be a great way to start the day. Or take a page from the millenials and give Avocado Toast a try! It’s really easy to make, and it’s delicious, while adding some additional healthy fats into your diet!
3. Don’t Forget To Go Nuts! Walnuts, peanuts, almonds and other nuts are known to be good for your heart, and are a great alternative to something sweet as a snack. They also are great additions to salads and sliced almonds can be great in your morning cereal as well!
4. Take A 10 minute Walk. Adding a short walk into your day in a great way to start moving. Take a walk during your lunch break, or after dinner, and you’ll find it not only helps your heart but your mood as well. Here at Kendal-Crosslands Communities, we have walking trails and our 500 acre Level II Arboretum campus, which makes taking a walk even more enjoyable. Don’t forget all the other walking and hiking trails available here in lovely Chester County, if you are looking for a longer walk, a change or additional options to get out and enjoy our community!
5. Relax and Take A Breath. Try breathing slowly and deeply for a few minutes every day. It can help you relax and center yourself, and can even help reduce blood pressure. There are even some great breathing reminder and training apps available for your smartphone, like Breathe from Apple, that can send you reminders and walk you through breathing exercises.- just check out the app store!
6. Washing Your Hands Often. While this is recommended, especially during cold and flu season to prevent the spread of colds, it’s important to remember that flu, pneumonia and other infections can be hard on your heart. Making sure to be a little extra careful with handwashing can help keep you and your family healthier overall.
7. Hobbies Help. Activities like knitting, sewing, quilting, woodworking, and more can be a great way to relieve stress and do your heart some good in the process. Here at Kendal-Crosslands Communities, there are lots of activities like these and more, with other residents who would love to help you take up a new hobby you might never have considered before! Come join the fun!
8. Share A Laugh Or Two! It turns out that laughter can be good for your heart as well. We have a great selection of movies you can borrow from the community library, or simply have lunch with a good friend or family member. You’ll love the time spent together as well as the heart-healthy laughs you’ll share!
9. Keeping Your Teeth Healthy Could Mean Keeping Your Heart Healthy! People with gingivitis and periodontal disease seem to be at higher risk for heart disease and endocarditis. Avoid these problems by brushing and flossing regularly, and don’t miss those dental checkups! A recent article on DentistryIQ, discusses the link of oral bacteria to plaques in our arteries, and how closely linked periodontal disease and heart disease can be.
10. Get A Good Night’s Sleep- People who are chronically sleep deprived have higher risk ofCreate Linkobesity, high blood pressure, heart attack and depression. While it’s common for people to sleep less well as they age, doctors still recommend at least 7-9 hours sleep a night. If you’d like additional tips on getting a better night’s sleep, check out this great list from WebMD.
Small changes like these can help you be healthier every day, while also adding a bit of extra fun into your life at the same time. And that’s something we all can appreciate!