The 2019 report covering mortality in the United States, which was put together by the CDC, found that heart disease was the number 1 cause of death in the country for that year. Cancer was in a close second, and accidents ranked in a distant third. Heart diseases killed about 9% more than cancer that year, and almost 4 times as much as accidents.
The thing is: cancer and accidents are hard to prevent, but heart diseases aren’t. The vast majority of them can be prevented through lifestyle choices and various prophylactic measures. Here are some tips that can help you keep your heart healthy.
1. Exercise: the 150 minutes rule
Current CDC recommendations state that people need at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise every week to maintain their physical and mental health. This is good news. After all, while getting deep into fitness can do wonders for your health, not everyone is willing or able to go that far. If you are struggling to find free time between work and home obligations, spending hours at the gym every week just isn’t an option.
Instead, you can get the exercise you need by going on a walk for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Or do it for 1 hour a day, three days a week. Whatever works for you. The CDC also recommends at least two days of strength training every week, as this type of training comes with its own sets of benefits. This can be achieved by doing a simple set of pushups and squats.
2. Diet and weight
It’s no mystery that being overweight is a risk factor for heart diseases, but what and how you eat also plays a big role in this issue. Foods that are rich in fats and salt can both put a toll on your cardiovascular system.
This means that while in the long-term you should aim to maintain a healthy weight, in the short term you can protect your heart by lowering your salt consumption and adding more whole-grain foods to your diet. The latter will provide the nutrients needed to keep your heart healthy, as well as the rest of your body.
3. Take care of your mental health
Sadly, the data on this is clear. Patients who suffer from depression, anxiety disorders, or severe stress are all more likely to suffer from heart conditions than the average population. This includes the full range of heart problems, from hypertension to strokes and other issues.
This is yet another reason why taking care of your mental health is important. And while there is no one-size-fits-all solution to mental health, making lifestyle changes, going to therapy, avoiding toxic people, taking natural health supplements — such as CBD gummies —, and various other methods can be used to help protect your mental health.
4. Manage your vices
Smoking and alcohol consumption can all do a number on your heart over the years. The best solution is to avoid these substances entirely. If that’s not an option, the second-best solution is — once again — to double down on other prophylactic measures to strengthen and protect your heart.
5. Get regular checkups
Getting checked up every year or every six months is crucial for the long-term health of your heart. Checkups can let you learn about genetic issues and other problems as soon as possible, and these issues are often easier to treat when they are caught early.