10 Ways to Improve Your Heart Health in Just Minutes a Day

10 Ways to Improve Your Heart Health in Just Minutes a Day

While it’s no mystery that your heart health dictates your life in myriad ways, we still tend to take for granted that it will pump no matter what -- 24 hours a day, 365 days a year -- without giving it a second thought. Now imagine taking a few minutes out of your day, every day, to give it the support it needs. The results will surprise you.

At Danvers Family Doctors, P.C., one of the most dangerous conditions we see coming through our doors here in Danvers, Massachusetts, is poor heart health. Whether it’s high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or any other cardiovascular problem, it’s impossible to exaggerate the impact poor heart health can have on your body. In fact, it’s also no exaggeration to say it’s life-threatening.

The good news is that you can take some very simple steps to help your heart perform at its best, enabling every other system in your body to do the same. And instead of giving you vague instructions to eat well and exercise (which really are the two best drivers of good heart health), we’re going to give you 10 tangible examples of things you can do throughout your day that deliver a powerful return on your small investment.

1. Rise and shine!

When the alarm goes off, take a few minutes to perform a few simple stretches. Bend down and touch your toes. Spread your legs and reach to each side. Clasp your arms behind your back and stretch your shoulders. These gentle stretches signal your muscles and heart that your day is beginning and they give your body time to warm up properly.

2. Coffee time

As you wait for your coffee to brew, grab the edge of the counter and do a few standing push-ups. Perform a series of 10 squats as you watch the coffee begin to fill your cup. Do a couple of quick twisting exercises, air punching from side to side. You’ll be amped before the caffeine hits your system.

3. Work for it

If you drive to work, park a little further away than usual and walk the rest of the way. And, throughout your day, any time you’re faced with a set of stairs or an escalator or elevator, grab the stairs.

4. De-process your food

When you run out to your usual takeout place for lunch, why not see if there are some healthier options on the menu. Look for whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Think of taking the “process” out of your food and elect for unprocessed goodies whenever you can.

5. Re-energize

As your day progresses, you may hit that familiar late-afternoon wall. Instead of slogging through, get up and take a quick walk. This works to re-energize you and clear your head, which does wonders for your heart.

6. Prevent stress buildup

To prevent stress from building, take a moment (or two or three) throughout your day to just sit quietly. A quick one-minute meditation works to slow your heart rate and can help you hit the restart button on your day at any time.

7. Cut out the salt

Next time you grab the salt, take another bite of your food to see if it really needs it or whether you’re reaching out of habit. Sodium is not heart friendly, so it’s best to go without or find another seasoning for a flavor kick, such as lemon juice, pepper, or herbs.

8. Quit smoking

OK, this isn’t a simple step, and we understand that. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t add it to every heart health list. If you smoke, please ask us about ways to quit, because it may be one of the best gifts you can give your heart.

9. Kill the late-night munchies

If you find yourself at your fridge past 9pm looking for a quick snack, grab a piece of fruit or walk away. Late-night snacking is one of the worst nutritional habits and quickly leads to weight gain, which makes your heart work harder.

10. Get some sleep -- your heart has earned it

Don’t shortchange your body on sleep. If you can, get a full eight hours a night to allow your body time to rest, repair, and regenerate. In fact, during your deep, restorative sleep, your heart rate goes down, giving your heart a much-needed break after a long day.

While these 10 tips are a great place to start for boosting heart health, we’re happy to sit down with you to tailor your own plan. Give us a call or use our online booking tool to schedule an appointment.

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