healthier heart

Top 10 Tips for a Healthier Heart

One of the hardest working organs in your body that you may not even realize is your heart.

Throughout the day, the heart pumps blood and oxygen that your body needs to function well. It needs to be at 100% at all times. Thus, even the slightest change in blood pressure or your cholesterol levels could potentially be linked to your heart. When that happens, you might need to make some changes in your lifestyle and nutrition.

Before you even have to fully overhaul your diet and habits, it’s good to take care of this important muscle as early as now. With only a few, small adjustments in what you eat and the way you manage stress, it could drastically improve your overall health.

In this article, Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute suggests ways on how you can take better care of your heart. Give these tips serious consideration especially if you’re already feeling symptoms of a weak heart.

How to keep your heart healthy

Whenever your doctors tell you to re-think your unhealthy choices in life, take that to heart (literally!). The food and drinks you tend to choose can be the culprit in causing artery buildup in your heart. In the long run, these tips can be beneficial to decrease the risks of heart failure. 

1. Give up vices, especially smoking
smoking bad for heart

Smoking is bad for your heart and lungs. According to the CDC, smoking is a major cause of cardiovascular diseases. As a result, more than 800,000 people a year died due to cardiovascular diseases. Also, in the US alone, almost 8 million had a heart attack (2014 data, report) 7 million had a stroke.

When you’re exposed to tobacco smoke, plaque builds up in the narrow vessels in your blood. Hence, less blood can flow. Your heart loses oxygen when a clot forms in these narrow vessels around the artery of your heart. Therefore, this can cause a heart attack.

Needless to say, this means you should avoid secondhand smoke, too, as much as you possibly can. Even if you’ve been a long-time smoker, as soon as you quit smoking, you can see significant changes in your health. You can even lower the risk of further damage in your lungs and heart, as well as other bodily functions.

Limit your alcohol intake, too. If at all possible, only do so occasionally. Lastly, say no to drugs. A combination of these vices can really take its toll on your body. Taking prohibited drugs can lead to substance disorders, thereby causing adverse effects in your circulatory and cardiovascular systems. 

2. Eat more fiber

The benefits of a high-fiber diet are related to lower cholesterol levels. You can eat soluble fiber that helps lower the low-density lipoprotein which is responsible for “bad” cholesterol. Some good sources of fiber are oats, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds, fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain products.

Avoid processed and refined foods because they are typically low in fiber. For men, the daily recommended fiber intake is 38g (age <50) and 30g (age >51). On the other hand, it is 25g (age <50) and 21g (age>51) for women.

3. Eat healthy fats. Cut down on saturated / trans fat

Good fats can be found in safflower, canola, and olive oils. “Bad” fats, however, can be found in saturated fats and trans fats. Cut down on butter, cheese, fatty meats, and partially hydrogenated oils in your meals.

healthy fats for the heart

4. Keep moving. Sit less. 

When offices were forced to shut down due to covid-19 safety protocols, you’re probably one of those who had to work from home. At this point, you should have invested in a workspace or a dedicated area in your place. But, this setup may have kept you glued into the computer all day. 

With that said, it’s easy to just take everything close to you and not stand at all. That’s a recipe for an extremely sedentary lifestyle. Hence, to counter that, even if you’re working from home, try not to sit for too long at extended periods of time. Get active, stretch, and get up every once in a while.

Move for the heart

5. Cut down on salt / sodium

Choose unprocessed and whole foods more than salty and sodium-rich alternatives. What really happens when you cut down on salt and sodium, you ask? It lowers your blood pressure because the amount of fluid in your blood decreases. Note that too much salt or sodium causes your body to hold extra water so that it can “wash” that salt away. That extra work inside your body puts a lot of stress on your heart.

less salt for the heart

According to the World Health Organization, the recommended salt intake for adults should only be less than 5 g or under 1 teaspoon of salt per day. Imagine the amount of salt you put in your food when you cook, right? Not to mention the salty snack foods, ready meals, instant noodles, and processed meats you consume.

6. Practice good dental hygiene

Are you hypertensive? Did you know that gum disease can interfere with hypertension medications? Hence, it’s more difficult to monitor and control blood pressure which is crucial for your heart health.

oral hygiene for the heart

Both cardiologists and dentists recommend brushing at least twice a day to improve oral health and lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It’s a basic hygienic practice that could prevent heart valve infections linked to poor dental health.

7. Monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels regularly

Speaking of hypertension, high blood pressure is closely associated with high cholesterol. It is harder for the heart to pump blood when your arteries harden due to cholesterol plaque. Often, calcium also builds up in these arteries which results in abnormally high blood pressure levels.

hypertension

In this study, researchers found a positive association between heart rate, blood pressures, triglycerides, blood glucose and blood cholesterol. 

8. Manage your weight

Now, does weight affect your heart? Yes. Obesity elevates the risk of circulatory and heart diseases because fatty materials build up in your arteries. If you are overweight, you are at serious risk of developing health problems such as high blood pressure, certain cancers, and heart problems.

Although for some, other factors come in that contribute to either adding or gaining weight. These are family history and genetics, environment, habits, and metabolism. Regardless, a good indicator to measure whether you have healthy weight is your body mass index. You can reach out to your doctor if you have further questions.

9. Get enough sleep

Sleep, especially these days, is now becoming more of a luxury. But, it’s something that you shouldn’t be taking for granted. Sleep is an essential part of life because your body repairs itself as you rest. Having a good night’s sleep increases your energy levels during the day so you can function normally and at your best.

CDC’s recommended hours for sleep is at least 7 hours for adults. Anything less (or more) than that can be detrimental to your health, including your heart. If you have sleep apnea, for instance, this could be an indication of heart failure because the airway is blocked during sleep. This condition affects how much oxygen your body gets, thereby, can potentially lead to stroke and heart attack. 

sleep for the heart

Insomnia is another sleep condition where you’re either having difficulty staying or falling asleep. This lack of sleep and irregularity in your rest schedule can hurt your heart, block your blood vessels, and make you restless during the day.

In order to get better sleep, you have to train your body to stick to a regular schedule. Start by setting an alarm for when you’re supposed to be in bed in the evening and when you should wake up. It should be the same every single morning for the entire week.

During the day, try going out to get natural light or go for a walk under the sun. Lessen your screen time especially when you’re already lying down. Avoid eating or drinking before bed time and set up your room conducive for sleep. For example, use low, warm lights and keep it cool and quiet.

10. Hydrate more 
hydrate for the heart

Stay hydrated. Your heart can pump blood better when you are well-hydrated. In fact, those with heart problems are advised to have proper hydration to decrease strain in the heart. Drink 8 glasses of water each day and add some more especially when it’s a hotter, more humid day. Also, try to replace sugary and carbonated drinks you would normally drink with water.Not only is proper hydration good for your heart but also for your brain and overall health and wellness.

Dos and don’ts

To sum up, here are the do’s and don’ts to a healthy heart so you can easily remember:

  • Do
    • Exercise
    • Eat a healthy, balanced diet (good for the heart)
    • Maintain a healthy weight
    • Manage stress well
    • Have regular health checks
    • Sleep
  • Don’t
    • Eat too much sodium, salt
    • Smoke tobacco
    • Sit for hours, all day
    • Drink alcohol excessively
    • Skip meals and stay up late all night

How to take care of your heart naturally

As you take your fitness journey more seriously, you are inevitably adding extra care for your heart, too. Know that heart diseases are mostly preventable. By eating a heart-healthy diet, you are naturally making your heart strong and well. If you’re gaining some pounds especially when holidays are approaching, add physical activities in your life so you can lose those extra calories. 

If, however, you are on medication, don’t skip it. Get immediate care from health professionals who can help reverse heart diseases through cardiac rehabilitation, if possible. Make your heart a priority! A healthy heart is a happy heart! 

References:
https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/infographic/hearthealth.htm
https://www.bluebirdcare.co.uk/bristol/useful-information/19125/top-10-healthy-heart-tips
https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-heart-tips
https://www.caba.org.uk/help-and-guides/information/10-ways-keep-your-heart-healthy
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2005/mar/17/NHS1
https://www.who.int/philippines/news/feature-stories/detail/how-to-take-care-of-your-heart-health


Top Ten Exercise Gurus

Top Ten Exercise Gurus

Do you need exercise gurus?

When you plan to get in shape or continue to work out, your determination is essential. 

You can’t exercise today and expect to lose some of your unwanted fats tomorrow.

It’s a grind that requires perseverance to bear results, and when you’re finally decided to commit to a program, sticking to it, whether you see outcomes or not, would be the test of it all.

But let’s face it – it’s easier said than done, most especially that everybody can’t go to the gym anymore like they used to. However, there’s no excuse to skip an exercise this time because there’s an alternative to working out – using the internet.

Good thing, there are exercise gurus on the web who can help you reach your goal. 

All you need is access to YouTube, and you’re good to go!

Fitness trainers to reach your body goals

It was in the 1980s when exercise gurus became popular. Celebrities started the trend of shooting straight-to-video workout programs that you could watch and mimic at home. The famous names to ever do this were Kathy Smith and Jane Fonda.

In modern times, influencers have taken the spot of traditional celebrities as exercise gurus. Just go to YouTube alone, and you’ll see a long list of fitness enthusiasts who have a massive following. 

Who are our top ten exercise gurus? The Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute has listed them down:

Joe Wicks

Joe Wicks

The name Joe Wicks is inevitable when it comes to lifestyle and fitness online. His four million followers are a testament to this. Known as the “The Body Coach,” this guru generously provides a 15-minute meal and workout plan to guide his followers toward a slimmer and healthier lifestyle.

Wicks published the book Lean in 15, and with it, he received a significant number of praises and acclaims for his innovative approach to healthy fitness routines and recipes. He has become a personal trainer for many years, so the vast following he has created online shouldn’t be surprising.

Kayla Itsines

Kayla Itsines

Talk about one of the most well-known fitness experts in the world, and you’d see Kayla Itsines on the list. She has over thirteen million Instagram followers that made her an instant online celebrity in fitness. If you’re looking for motivation, check her Instagram feed, and you’d find inspiring stories to get you moving. 

This Australian-based personal trainer has empowered millions of women to improve their bodies and fitness. She used her knowledge and passion in crafting myriads of fitness ebooks, including tilted Bikini Body Guides, workout applications, and meal plans.

Simeon Panda

Simeon Panda

Forbes voted for this next man in this list as one of the world’s top ten influencers, and his body and physique would make you understand why. He has helped hundreds and thousands of men and women all over the globe who want to stay fit and healthy. 

Simeon has also created best-selling training ebooks to help his followers get into shape. This fitness addict started blogging in 2013, which allowed him to gain millions of followers on social media. 

Luke Worthington

Luke Worthington

Luke’s mantra is “move better, think better, eat better, feel better.” He’s an all-around nutritionist, sports massage therapist, and personal trainer.

He turned actors into athletes for notable film and TV productions like Star Wars and Killing Eve. He is also the head trainer of the ITV series “Harry’s Heroes” and has trained World Champions from 5 different sports.

Luke is one of London’s best trainers according to the Evening Standard and a highly qualified sports scientist. He believes that understanding bio- and neuromechanics, psychology and emotional wellbeing is critical in optimizing our physical potential and capabilities.

Tally Rye

Tally Rye

London-based Tally is a fitness instructor, personal trainer and author of the book, “Train Happy “ She specializes in intuitive movement and non-diet exercise plans for people to nurture positive relationships with their bodies.

She’s a content creator with a growing following in YouTube, Spotify and Apple podcasts, Facebook, and Instagram @tallyrye. She emphasizes having healthy habits, ditching the diet culture, a positive lifestyle, and enjoying all things in moderation. 

Tally also shares recipes on her website and happy workout routines that you can try wherever you are.

Rich Froning

Rich Froning

Rich Froning, the “fittest man in history,” is an 8-time CrossFit Games Champion. He has a tattoo with the Bible verse, Galatians 6:14, on his left side (from armpit to his hip). 

True to his Twitter bio @richfroning, Rich believes that we are all created for a purpose greater than ourselves, which led to the creation of the site Mayhem Mission. Here, he gives, reaches out, and impacts the world with his advocacies of promoting good health and fitness all around.

He also has virtual CrossFit games, workouts and various media resources (videos, articles, etc.) available online. Rich does not stick to any diet plan or count his calories but makes sure he works out multiple times a day.

Jen Selter

Jen Selter

New York-based Jen Selter is a global fitness instructor and influencer with over 12 million followers on Instagram (@jenselter). She inspires and motivates her followers strictly with a “no-negativity” policy.

She popularized her signature “Seltering” poses that fitness enthusiasts of all shapes and sizes can follow. Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, Vanity Fair, among others also had Jen as their featured guest a number of times. 

Jen’s pinned tweet is a constant reminder to everyone: “You’re always going to be ‘to something to someone. Just be yourself.” If you want to learn exercise and recipes you can relate to, Jen may be a good fit for you.

Natalie Jill

Natalie Jill

Natalie’s mission is to help midlife women kill “false assumed truths” a.k.a F.A.T. In all of her social media, you can find the ongoing motto that “you’re not too old, and it’s not too late!” Indeed, she embodies this truth as a fit and successful woman in her forties!

She developed a 7-day Jump Start program and wrote a book about the same. It talks about working out with your own body and not doing dangerous diets or unhealthy calorie restrictions.

Natalie is the model for “ageing in reverse,” who helps people worldwide understand functional fitness. Interestingly, when asked about her vocation, she says she “kills F.A.T. for a living.” We couldn’t agree more!

Tony Horton

Tony Horton

Dubbed as “the most influential man in health and fitness,” Tony started his career working out of his garage. He trained a 20th Century Fox executive in the 90s, charging only $20 per lesson at the time.

Tony’s clientele list grew from there, which included Annie Lennox, Usher, Billy Idol, Bruce Springsteen, etc. He then created P90x, a best-selling commercial home exercise regimen now wildly popular around the globe.

A world-class motivational speaker and author, Tony guested in many TV programs talking about healthy living, nutrition, and exercise. He is a fitness and lifestyle expert, and he also ventured into business with Ultimate Salon Professionals. 

Rebecca-Louise

Rebecca, a NASM-certified workout trainer, is the founder of the BTES Fitness app. She wrote the best-selling book “It Takes Grit” and hosts the podcast inspired by the book.

Rebecca’s guests are the likes of Olympic champion Katie Hoff and entrepreneurs Chris and Lori Harder in the podcast. Here, she helps her 250,000 listeners to overcome excuses in fitness and accomplish long-term changes in nutrition.

Rebecca is an exercise guru and influencer who has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Entrepreneur, and Vogue. She is also the face of Le Coq Sportif and ambassador for Nike, Disney, GoPro, among others. 

Famous fitness icons who inspire

Do you need inspiration for a healthier lifestyle? These widely-known fitness and exercise gurus have various ideas and tips you can learn from for sure.

These names have shown astonishing campaigns promoting wellness, proper nutrition and overall wellbeing in their respective networks and communities.

Check these exercise influencers out! Who knows? This could be the start of a brand new healthier you!

Did you find your favourite exercise gurus from the list, or do you know others from whom you’re currently getting inspiration? 

References:
https://blog.kicksta.co/top-60-instagram-fitness-gurus-to-draw-inspiration-from/
https://www.amraandelma.com/100-top-fitness-influencers-in-2020/
https://greatist.com/health/most-influential-health-fitness-people-2016#4