Heart performs the vital task of pumping blood around the body. Our health thus is very much contingent on the health of our heart. And yet, most of us fail to pay appropriate attention to our heart.

On the contrary, many of us share a lifestyle that is not conducive for a healthy heart; whether it be stress, fast food, sedentary jobs, we do so many things that are damaging our heart. But it’s time to change that. With these 6 steps, you can work way to a stronger heart:

1. Eat Well

Diet can make or break health. Some of us too busy to eat well and others like indulging in greasy, fried and fast food. Whatever the reason, an unhealthy diet leads to all sorts of physical and mental ailments.

Apart from the bad cholesterol and the buildup of plaque in the vessels, unhealthy diet also poses the risk of obesity, which also then puts extra strain on the heart. Consequently, heart is endangered which then has you rushing for the best cardiologist in Lahore.

Therefore, take up healthy diet Take plenty of fruits and vegetables. Red meat should only be taken occasionally. Go easy on the desserts as well; sugar leads to weight gain and thus also should be avoided.

2. Exercise!

The gateway to heart health is through exercise, regardless of whether you find the prospect appealing or daunting. As heart is a muscle, the more you work it, the more you build it.

Heart has to work hard during the bouts of exercise, as the demand for oxygen increases in the body. This thus strengthens the heart which consequently becomes stronger and healthier.

Moreover, exercise also helps heart by lowering the stress levels in the body. Chronic stress wreaks havoc on the mental and physical health, both. It causes the heart rate to stay escalated due to the fight or flight response that is produced in the body. Other than the extra strain on the heart, stress also leads to hypertension.

Exercise causes the release of the good hormones in the body –endorphins—which then help in lowering stress levels. Heart is thus protected from the side effects of stress.

It is important to understand that exercise does not always have to be about pulling long hours at the gym and doing detestable bouts of cardio. In order to stay healthy, consistent work out is important. 30 minutes of moderate workout like walking or cycling is sufficient.

However, do try challenging yourself. There are so many types of exercises for every mood; yoga for those who like calm and peace, something like Zumba or dance for those who want to kick up their heels and have fun during exercise, or perhaps high intensity workout for the driven and goal-orientated people.

3. Lose the extra weight

Being overweight means that your heart has to work extra hard to pump blood around the body. It then is overly taxed, and the extra strain is certainly not good for it. Obesity also poses the risk for heart disease otherwise as well.

So, workout and eat well. Do not try the fad diet route for weight loss as they are counter intuitive. Instead, make sustainable lifestyle changes for better health.

4. Stop smoking

Cigarettes are always a bad idea; just read the pack they come in!

From the risk of atherosclerosis to heart attack, smoking puts the heart in peril in a variety of ways. Cardiovascular diseases caused by smoking are amongst the leading causes of preventable deaths, globally, such grim is the picture.

Even passive smoking is very harmful. Hence, stay away from cigarettes and all those who smoke!

5. Sleep for your health

Sleep deprivation is extremely bad for the health. It delays reflexes, focus, attention and leads to mood changes in the short term. In long term, it leads to obesity, depression and cardiovascular diseases.

Lack of sufficient shuteye also increases the risk of problems like stroke and heart attack as well. So, while the deadlines are looming and your work is at risk, nothing is worth the health of your heart.

It is vital for you to prioritize your health, especially that of your heart. Adults need an average of around 7-9 hours of sleep. If there are any sleep disorders like insomnia or sleep apnea that are interfering with your sleep, visit a medical expert and have this issue sorted!

6. Control the salt intake

Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by the blood on the arterial walls. The higher it is, more the heart has to work to sustain circulation, which naturally, is not good for the heart muscles.

More importantly, hypertension is a silent killer. It develops over a period of time and thus its symptoms are subtle at best. The effect, however, is just as grave. From heart disease to stroke, its impact is very grave.

However, it is easy to control with lifestyle changes and medication, if need be. Alongside doing the above, go easy on sodium. Put less salt in the meals, be careful about your processed food choices as they are often laden with sodium and visit the best cardiologist in Karachi for help with condition regulation.

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