The beating heart. It should be the pride and joy for every man on the planet. Without it, you literally won’t exist. Unfortunately, ‘should’ is the operative word in this circumstance. In Australia alone, cardiovascular disease (CVD) affects more than 4 million Australians, causing death in 40% more men than women. We know what you’re thinking, and we agree; the statistics are shocking. Especially when most cardiovascular diseases are preventable through healthy lifestyle choices, like nutrition, exercise and good mental health practices.
It’s time to level up and beat the statistics with our best 6 tips to improve heart health fast.
Reduce the stress in your life
Whether you like to admit it or not, we all experience varying levels of stress in our everyday lives. Work, study, family, social commitments, unexpected illness, and relationships; the building blocks of what’s considered a fulfilling life can grow quickly. And, chances are they can snowball just as quickly, too. Taking an hour of time out of your standard schedule to meditate or practice mindfulness can reduce stress and anxiety while lowering your heart rate. It really is a no-brainer for your heart health.
Get enough decent sleep
Whoever started the ‘sleep is overrated’ mantra is an absolute fool with exceptionally bad time management skills. There is only so much you should be able to squeeze into one day before sleep is prioritised. As well as helping your brain to function, adequate sleep helps your body repair itself so you can perform better when you’re awake. We’re talking about a solid 7-hours of shut-eye each night, and your blood pressure will be on the decrease – a huge relief for your heart. Men who aren’t reaching the 7-hour sleep quota are putting themselves at a higher risk of heart disease, heart attacks and stroke. So, hit the pillows earlier or press snooze a little longer and make sure you’re beyond the risk bracket.
Exercise on the reg
Four out of every five people aren’t exercising enough. That’s a lot of people! The thing is, the heart is a muscle and exercise is a guaranteed method of strengthening it. Whether it’s brisk walking, running, cycling, swimming, or resistance training, 30-minutes of moderate exercise five days a week will provide benefits of weight loss, lowered cholesterol, and improved aerobic fitness. And, need we remind you of the feel-good release of endorphins associated with exercise? Our job here is done.
Tweak your smoking habits
Smoking is notorious for the terrible effects it has on the heart. The nasty chemicals in cigarettes can damage the heart and blood vessels, causing coronary heart disease, stroked, hypertension, heart attacks, aneurysms and more. If you struggle to completely quit, begin by reducing the number of durries you’re puffing each day.
Reduce your salt intake
We get it. Salt is a total flavour enhancer. But, when flavour comes at the cost of your heart health, you really need to reconsider your priorities in life. While sodium is essential for all humans, too much sodium can cause an increase in blood pressure, which contributes to heart disease. When strolling the grocery store, check the nutrition labels for low sodium options and avoid processed foods whenever possible.
We all know the basics of healthy eating; plenty of lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, yada yada. These foundations have been drummed into our minds for so long that perhaps we’ve forgotten. So, for the sake of your heart health, here’s your friendly reminder that eating five or more serves of vegetables a day can decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease by 17%. Yep, we’re just going to leave this here.