Did you know heart disease is the top cause of death every year in the world? Heart problems like high blood pressure can lead to premature heart failure, heart attacks, strokes, and other life-threatening conditions. The good news is, you can avoid developing most heart conditions by keeping your heart healthy.
Asrar Sheikh, MD, Teofilo Vinluan, MD, and all of our experienced family and primary care team at Family Urgent Care recommend making small changes to your lifestyle and habits to keep your heart in top shape. With practices in Schererville, Indiana and Chicago, Illinois’ Lincoln Park neighborhood, our team is well-equipped to help you and your family keep your heart strong throughout the greater Chicago area.
Following these 10 tips from our team will help you attain and maintain a strong, healthy heart.
1. Get and remain active
Your heart is a muscle that keeps blood pumping through your body, so keeping your cardiovascular fitness high keeps it strong. For ideal heart health, aim to break a sweat five days per week for 30 minutes.
Any activity that gets your body moving promotes cardiovascular health. Choose an activity you enjoy to ensure you get moving regularly.
2. Keep your body strong
Weight-bearing exercises also play an important part in your heart’s overall health levels. Work toward doing weight-bearing exercises that build your full body’s strength 2-3 times per week.
If you’re new to exercise, our doctors can help you develop an exercise routine that works for your unique physical needs.
3. Eat a balanced diet
A heart-healthy diet is a key component to keeping your heart healthy. Aim to eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats, while avoiding excessive salt, saturated fats, and processed foods.
4. Maintain a healthy weight
When you weigh more, your heart has to work harder to do its job. If you’re overweight, healthy weight loss of 1-2 lbs per week takes the strain off your heart and can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol.
Reducing your calorie intake, consuming healthy foods, and increasing your activity levels can all help you reduce your weight. Our team at Family Urgent Care can help you develop a healthy weight loss plan tailored to you.
5. Quit smoking
Smoking, including traditional and e-cigarettes, plus secondhand smoke, all aggravate your heart. Working to quit smoking, as well as reducing your exposure to secondhand smoke, makes your heart stronger and healthier.
6. Minimize your risk of illness
From coronavirus to the flu to pneumonia, catching an infection can make your heart weaker. You can reduce your risk of catching an illness by washing your hands regularly, avoiding close physical proximity and contact with others, and getting your annual flu vaccine at Family Urgent Care.
7. Get the right amount of sleep
Getting too little or too much sleep can up your risk of developing heart disease. Work on getting about 7-9 hours of shut-eye every night.
8. Learn healthy stress management techniques
Stressful life events can be unavoidable, but learning how to manage them and calm your anxiety reduces the strain stress can cause on your heart. Learning stress management techniques like deep breathing, mindfulness practices, and seeking support from loved ones will help keep you steady and relaxed.
9. Up your positivity
Studies show people who learn to access their positive emotions are healthier and live longer lives. Tap into appreciating the good things in your life by practicing gratitude, strengthening your relationships, contributing to your community, and doing activities that make you happy.
10. Get your blood pressure checked regularly
High blood pressure can be an early warning sign of heart problems. You should get your blood pressure checked at least every three years if you’re under 40, or annually if you’re over 40 or have a history of high blood pressure.
By getting an annual physical at Family Urgent Care, you can ensure you get your blood pressure and overall health looked over every year by our experienced team.
Most importantly, don’t forget to celebrate the small steps you take to have a healthy heart! To schedule a physical or another appointment at Family Urgent Care, call your preferred office location today. Our team also provides medical care through telehealth.