Everyday Tips for Your Hardworking Heart


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Often, the stresses and challenges of taking care of someone day in and day out, not to mention all the other crazy things life sends our way, can tax even the strongest of heart. Add to that any existing issues in our family health history – and the fact that none of us are getting any younger – and it seems like February, American Heart Month, has come along at the perfect time.

Last year at this time, we blogged about risk factors for heart disease. This time around, we have some simple things you can incorporate into your everyday life that can have a big impact on your overall heart health:

  • Oms and Amens: You may not think you have the time, but studies have shown that spending about 20 minutes, twice a day, in meditation, may add years to your life. In fact, a 2012 study showed African-Americans with heart disease who practiced Transcendental Meditation regularly were 48 percent less likely to have a heart attack or stroke or die compared with those who attended a health education class over more than five years. If you’re new to meditation, you can get started with a few simple breathing exercises and build upon the practice until you find the right routine for you. If you’d prefer a more faith-centered approach, other studies show that chant-like praying, such as saying the Rosary, also has positive results.
  • An Apple A Day: It is not just an old wives’ tale. The polyphenol antioxidant in apples can lower blood oxidation of LDL (or “bad” cholesterol) in the blood by 40%, according to researchers. This helps decrease hardening of the arteries that can cause heart attack or stroke. Of course, there are hundreds of other heart-healthy foods that you can incorporate into your diet, but, if you do nothing else, start with apples. They’re easy, relatively inexpensive, available year-round and, of course, tempting.
  • The Doctor Will See You Now: If you’re like many caregivers, you spend a lot of time in doctors’ offices, but how often is it for your own medical needs? Making sure that you keep up on your own health visits (don’t forget dental) can help prevent or lessen the effects of any problems that may arise.
  • Walk the Walk: Even thin people who don’t get enough exercise are at risk for early mortality but the solution is easy. Scientists say that a brisk, 20-minute walk a day could be enough to stave off coronary heart disease. When the weather doesn’t allow for it, try to find other ways to get in a few 10-minute bursts of exercise throughout the day: do a few quick trips up and down the stairs, laps around the house, or jog in place.
  • Get Your Zzzzzs: Do you want an excuse to sleep in? According to the American Heart Association, studies have found that most people need six to eight hours of sleep each day and that too little or too much can increase the risk of cardiovascular problems. Sleep is as important a priority as eating well, exercising and getting regular medical checkups, but too often it falls off the list.

For more information about taking care of yourself to better care for the ones you love, please contact Home instead Senior Care of Central Oregon at 541-330-6400.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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