Surprising Ways You Can be Heart Healthy This February
We are all familiar with the standard methods for maintaining good heart health, but there are some surprising ways to prevent heart disease and stroke! If you’re already exercising, managing pre-existing conditions like diabetes, eating healthy, and quitting smoking, you’re off to a fantastic start in your heart-healthy journey. In this blog, we look at additional ways to reduce your risk for heart month.
Manage your indoor air quality.
All air is not created equal! Our homes can be a potential hazard if we don’t consider the air quality around us – especially in the winter months. With inadequate ventilation, the many particles we produce, and the off-gassing of housing materials themselves, ambient air pollution can increase our risk for cardiovascular disease.
● Purchase a high-quality air purifier
An air purifier can help reduce allergens and ambient pollution from your home; in addition, many products on the market can give your live readings of the current air quality. A good HEPA filter purifier will provide comfort and peace of mind.
● Become a plant parent
Plants are an enjoyable and aesthetic way to improve the air quality of your home. Focus on plants that are easy to maintain and great filters for air, such as snake plants, Red-edged Dracaena, spider plants, and Aloe Vera.
● Invest in a quality carbon monoxide sensor
Carbon monoxide can build up with poor ventilation, especially in the winter when we use more heat and cook more food. Your water heater, furnace, stove, fireplace, and wood-burning ovens can all emit carbon monoxide. Place a good-quality sensor on each floor of your home for the best protection.
Reduce your exposure to loud, ambient noise.
Being overstimulated by constant noise can have a serious effect on your body. Noise increases your stress hormones, causes sleep disruptions, and raises blood pressure, which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Ways you can reduce the noise levels in your home:
- Noise cancelling headphones
- High-quality earplugs
- Triple-pane windows
- Reduce the sounds of appliances by replacing worn, loose, or unbalanced machine parts and enclosing them when possible
- Utilize carpets, area rugs, or cork tiles – which are sound absorbing
- Carve out intentional quiet time with everyone in your home
Increase your sleep hygiene.
Better sleep has a myriad of benefits, especially for heart health. At night, your heart and body heal during the reparative stage of your day. This healing stage, initiated by your pituitary gland, reduces inflammation, promotes cell recovery, and relieves stress.
Mild to chronic poor sleep can have a detrimental effect on your heart. Research has shown that insomnia is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, mood disorders, and cancer.
Without a doubt, restful and consistent sleep is an essential part of a healthy mind and body. You can make positive changes in your sleep by incorporating sleep-benefiting rituals into your daily routine.
● Start your day with sunshine
In the morning, a sunshine bath can help you regulate your circadian rhythm. Step outside with your morning coffee and let the sunshine on your face and body for at least 5-15 minutes.
● Choose consistency
A regular schedule, whether you are a night owl or a morning person, is a vital part of restful sleep. Try to maintain a consistent schedule – even on the weekends!
● Leave the snacks out of your evening routine
If you’re busy digesting, you’ll have a less restful and less productive sleep. Avoid food in the three-hour window before your regular sleep time; not only does this signal your body that it’s time to wind down, but you’ll also avoid tossing and turning with a full belly.
● Turn down the lights
Avoid screens and bright LED lighting in the evening; switch to warm dimmable lighting and activities such as reading, light stretching, or playing a board game. If you need to use your screens, ensure they are on the warm night setting to reduce their impact on your sleep health.
A healthy heart is maintained through a healthy lifestyle.
The best prevention for illness is to understand the cumulative ways that our lifestyles affect our overall health and well-being, whether positively or negatively. Luckily, by adding some plants and quiet time to your day and getting a good night’s rest, you’re on your way to a long, healthy life.