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6 Unexpected Ways to Be Good to your Heart

DS.Hearthealth

You may have already heard that the best workouts for heart health include Interval training, Weight Training, and Full-Body non-impact sports like rowing, swimming, and skiing. (5) But before you rush out and start training super hard to get your heart fit, Prevention warns the weekend warrior to take pause!

Turns out it is best to avoid long-distance running on pavement, or over-working when you’re not trained for the activity. This is due to the undue burden of stress put on your heart by a dramatic increase of adrenaline. So ease into your workouts, stretch and build up to more effort instead of going all out all at once.

And speaking of adrenaline, here are 6 unexpected ways you can take care of your heart:

  1. Put Less Fright In Your Night
    Halloween is just around the corner, and many of us like to have fun with the fear factor. All the participants of this study testing the impact of mental and emotional stress on the heart were shown the same scary movie clip, and all of them exhibited effects to their cardiac muscles.

    Be especially mindful this time of year that while some people are super sensitive to being frightened (think of young kids and survivors of any type of violence who may have PTSD) all people can experience elevated heart rates due to watching scary movies.

    This year maybe try a less frightful alternative like Hocus Pocus, Caspar the Friendly Ghost, the Corpse Bride or Fun Size. While we’re on the topic of of fun size…

  2. Reduce or Eliminate Sugar
    Scientific reports showed that even people who consider themselves healthy are at risk of heart disease due to high sugar intake. At risk, in particular, are young people who consume a high amount of sugary fizzy drinks. (1)

    Most of these people are kids, and right now it’s a safe bet to assume they are gearing up to go out and collect as much candy as possible. Wellness Mama has some AMAZING ideas of 27 FUN THINGS to give out instead of candy (stickers, bubbles, slingshot bats, lots of fun to be had without the crash).

    It may seem like torture to talk about reducing sugar during its peak season, but who are we kidding? It’s always sugar season. There’s a birthday or holiday calling for sweets and unless you make a conscious effort to seek out alternatives it’s so easy to be sucked in. Spoiler Alert! Dr. Axe’s five best sugar substitutes DO NOT include fake processed chemical sweeteners.

    But if you think you may die of boredom without sugar you may be quite surprised by the dessert alternatives available. Have some fun making healthier sweets for yourself and loved ones. It’s good weather for that!

  3. Reduce Sports-Related Stress
    Be mindful of breathing deeply and taking breaks next time you watch your favorite sports team! Two Middle-School students in Montreal initiated a study to raise awareness about the potential cardiac risks associated with sports viewing. They noted a significant increase of stress to the heart while participants were watching Hockey, demonstrating the emotional trigger of sports and its effect on heart health.

    The study showed an increase in heart rate of 75% when watching on TV and up to 110% higher when watching in person, with the highest level of stress being in overtime. (2)

    We invite you to think of some creative ways to take pause and stay calm during your favorite games, including your kid’s sports events. Some starting tips are to be aware of how you are feeling, back away emotionally or physically, and to keep things in perspective. (3)

  4. Keep Your Teeth Clean
    Who knew that going to the Dentist reduces your risk of heart attack by 24%? (7) And that is just going ONCE IN YOUR LIFE. Imagine regular 6-month cleanings and the good that will do your ticker!

    We often correlate Chiropractic to Dentistry. Corrective care is much like getting a filling or a crown, and regular adjustments and wellness care are the equivalents of getting your teeth cleaned.  Plaque and decay build up in your spine as well as your teeth and heart.

    There is also a correlation between oral health and spinal cord injury. You can keep your spinal cord protected, free of interruption by misaligned disks and clear out your nervous system with regular Chiropractic care.

  5. Work Out At Your Desk
    Forbes says that tricep raises at your desk are a great way to keep your heart fit. Give it a try!

    Another great idea is to have walking meetings. I saw a small group of women doing just that off Elliott the other day. They had their business clothes on and walking shoes to boot. It was inspiring!

    Getting out in the fresh air on your lunch break can also make a big difference in heart health. Be sure to take breaks, stand up as much as possible and drink plenty of water at your desk.

  6. Sardine Sandwiches
    What was good for Napoleon’s Army is a sustainable and delicious way to honor your heart (backstory). But seriously, sardines are a delicious paleo food that supports your heart health with plenty of calcium, Vitamin D, and B2. Check out these lovely options for both classic and sassy sardine sandwiches. Not scary, promise.

    You can also try adding vegan options like walnuts, Potassium-rich foods like bananas and squash, flax seeds, oatmeal, calcium-rich foods like spinach, broccoli, figs, almonds and non-GMO organic tofu to your heart healthy meal plan.

Trying just one of these six ways to be kind to your heart can make a big difference. Which one will you choose?

All the best in health to you and yours!

Resources

(1) Too much sugar? Even ‘healthy’ people are at risk of developing heart disease. Science Daily
(2) How Much can Watching Hockey Stress your Heart? Science Daily
(3) Tips for Sports Parents Who are Prone To Stress. The Oregonian
(4) Watching Scary Movies Triggers your Heartbeat. Science Daily
(4) 17 Halloween Movies for People Who Scare Easily. Buzzfeed
(5) 8 Best and Worst Exercises for Your Heart. Prevention
(6) How to help Keep Your Employees Heart Healthy. Forbes
(7) Dental Visits May Provide Benefits Beyond Your Teeth:Study Says. Huffpost
(8) Factors Associated with Oral Problems Among Adults with Spinal Cord Injury. PMC
(9) Paleo Foods: Sardines. PaleoLeap
(10)5 Best Sugar Substitutes. Dr. Axe