February is Heart Health Awareness month! Even though February is coming to an end, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue to work towards a healthy heart. Heart disease is still the number one killer in the U.S. taking over 600,000 lives every year. Heart disease includes a variety of issues that clog the arteries and cause them to become narrow and harden. This makes it more difficult for blood to flow through the arteries which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Luckily, there are many ways you can reduce your risk of heart disease.
Eat a healthy diet. We’ve all heard this one a million times, but limiting the amount of sodium, cholesterol and refined sugars can decrease your chances of obesity and diabetes, both of which are risk factors for heart disease. Instead opt for fruits, veggies and lean meat and keep the treats to a minimum
Avoid tobacco and excessive alcohol. Nicotine can constrict blood vessels and carbon monoxide can damage their inner lining. Smoking and excessive alcohol can also exacerbate already existing heart and lung issues.
Reduce stress. This one is definitely easier said than done in today’s busy world. However, it’s still important to take care of your mental health. Activities such as yoga, meditation or speaking with a professional can help reduce stress.
Exercise regularly. 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week can help you combat heart disease. This can be running, walking, dancing, yoga or pretty much anything else that gets you moving! Try to switch up your workout routine to work different muscle groups.
If you have heart disease, physical therapy can help you manage it. The therapist can provide you with exercises suited to you and custom advice to keep your heart healthy. If you or someone you know has suffered from a heart attack or stroke, consider starting physical therapy. Physical therapy can help you increase strength, regain function and improve mobility. The recovery may not be easy, but Capitol Physical Therapy will be with you every step of the way!