You Walk Slowly
If you’re a slow walker, it may be time to speed it up. Walking quickly on a daily basis can increase your cardiovascular health and can also reduce your risk of heart disease. According to a study published in the European Health Journal, slow walkers may be more prone to die from heart disease. Middle-aged participants who claimed they were slow walkers with no previous indication of cardiovascular problems were twice as likely to die from heart disease within a six-year period than other participants who claimed to have a faster walking pace.
This conclusion may be linked to other factors, such as the fitness level and Body Mass Index (BMI) of the participants, which were also directly related to walking pace. In most cases, slow walking study participants had higher BMIs than brisk walkers participating in the study.
The Remedy Rx: Implement an exercise routine that challenges your cardiovascular fitness. When you get physically stronger, you may find your walking pace naturally increases. You could even start your daily exercise routine by practicing a faster walking pace for 30 minutes a day.
You’re Not Spending Enough Time with Your Friends and Family
Feeling supported makes you happy and confident, which can lead to less stress and less likelihood that you’ll suffer from depression. A sunny outlook on life and time with friends and family members who encourage you to stay in a good mood can also be good for your heart.
A study conducted by Laura Kubzansky, Ph.D., from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, followed over 6,000 men and women aged 25 to 74 for 20 years. The “emotional vitality” of these participants was studied, which included:
- Engagement in life.
- Feelings of hopefulness.
- Facing stresses with emotional balance.
The study concluded that participants with better emotional vitality had lower risks for developing coronary disease.
The Remedy Rx: Spend time with people who make you feel good. Observe your mood when hanging out with your friends and family and increase the amount of time you spend with them if they boost your zest for life. Spending adequate time with your support system can ensure you handle everyday stresses better, without these stressful situations affecting your ticker.
You’re Not Meal Planning
Even if you have every intention of eating a heart-healthy diet, life can get in the way. Sometimes a vending machine snack that’s high in trans fats or a fast food burger that has too much sodium are easier to grab than fruits and vegetables. But planning out your meals and even preparing them in advance for a busy day can ensure you stay on track.
The Mayo Clinic suggests you plan meals that include tons of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. The meals you prepare shouldn’t include foods with lots of fat or sodium, such as red meat, processed foods, cheese, or baked goods.
The Remedy Rx: If you’re attempting to change your diet and make healthier choices, make it easier on yourself by planning out your meals for the day. A busy day can spell disaster for a healthy diet, so packing to-go snacks, such as carrot sticks and hummus or nuts, can ensure you stay on track.
You Have Troubled Sleep
Sleep isn’t just important for your energy, focus, mental health, healthy weight and good looks— it also contributes directly to your heart health. If you have an erratic sleep schedule, you could be causing your body undue stress, which can increase your risk for cardiovascular disease and other heart conditions.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, an erratic sleep schedule and lack of solid sleep each night “causes disruptions in underlying health conditions and biological processes like glucose metabolism, blood pressure, and inflammation.” And we already know how high blood pressure and inflammation make your heart work harder, ultimately increasing your chances for a cardiac event.
The Remedy Rx: The National Sleep Foundation claims, “Without long, deep periods of rest, certain chemicals are activated that keep the body from achieving extended periods in which heart rate and blood pressure are lowered. Over time, this can lead to higher blood pressure during the day and a greater chance of cardiovascular problems.” To keep your heart happy, it’s important to regularly get the recommended number of hours of sleep each night. For adults, that’s a solid seven to nine hours.