Heart health has become a focus for many Americans. Often, our busy yet sedentary lifestyles do not allow for us to take the necessary steps to ensure a healthy heart. But hearth health is not something to be brushed aside. According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States – accounting for one in every four deaths. According to Harvard Health, as many as 10 percent of heart attacks occur before age 45. It’s never too early to start taking care of your heart. Here are a few things you can do to help encourage heart health:
Sleep. When it comes to maintaining good health or recovering from an illness, there is no substitute for sleep. Sleep can also do wonders for your heart. According to the Gaples Institute for Integrative Cardiology, a review of a half a million people showed a 50 percent higher risk of developing or dying from heart disease when sleep dropped to five to six hours a night compared to seven or eight.
Avoid tobacco products. Cigarettes and tobacco products can greatly increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Cigars, pipes and second-hand smoke have all been shown to increase the risk of heart disease and death, according to the American Heart Association. Right now is the best time to stop smoking. It does not matter how long or how much you have smoked, the minute you quit smoking, the lungs and heart can begin to heal themselves.
Stay regularly active. Doing as little as 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day can help reduce blood pressure greatly. Without regular exercise, high blood pressure can increase, causing arteries to fill with plaque, which can lead to blood clots, resulting in a stroke or heart attack. If prehypertension (marginally high blood pressure) is already in the body, doing exercises such as swimming, jogging or walking can reduce the risk of hypertension, according to a Mayo Clinic study. Strength training such as lifting weights or circuit training can also greatly reduce high blood pressure, but it is best to start at a moderate pace. Consult with your doctor for more information about a healthy exercise program.
Eat well. Several Americans are constantly threatened by weight gain because of the prevalence of cheap, easy and high calorie foods. But as body weight increases, so does the risk of heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure. Therefore, it is important to choose to eat foods that are nutrient rich and not just high in calories. An increase in body weight can also cause sleep apnea, which can lead to poor heart health.
Get a massage. Getting a massage regularly is an efficient and therapeutic way to keep high blood pressure at bay, lower anxiety and stress, and help you sleep well – all of which can contribute to a healthy heart. Massage also encourages good circulation, improves posture and alignment and strengthens the immune system. A massage also is relaxing and feels great, both of which important for a healthy heart. FBN
By Mark Love
For additional information or to schedule an appointment with a massage therapist or esthetician, visit massageenvy.com, call (928) 526-ENVY (3689), or visit one of Arizona’s 39 Massage Envy locations. The Flagstaff location is at 1235 S. Plaza Way in the University Plaza Shopping Center, off Milton Road next to Ross and Safeway.
Mark Love is co-owner of Massage Envy Arizona. For more information on the benefits of massage, visit MassageEnvy.com.