The human heart is a muscle. Let's think about that for a moment. Muscles in the human body support movement and function and are made stronger by consistent use. Think about the bodybuilder in the gym. He is able to grow and strengthen his biceps with specific exercises performed 2 -5 times per week. The same results are achievable for the heart too.
For those with heart disease, the process of strengthening the heart muscles must be undertaken within safe ranges. Those who have experienced a heart attack or other heart-related event should ask their doctors to approve any planned program of exercise before they start. Most doctors will highly recommend exercise within safe guidelines.
So with the support of your doctor, here are 5 simple ways for you to strengthen your heart.
Walking is a great starting place to strengthen your heart. Even starting with 5 minutes each day will improve your heart as it becomes accustomed to this exercise habit. If it has been more than six months since you have exercised, start on level ground and create a daily habit. Over time you should aim to walk for at least 30 minutes each day. As you become stronger, you can increase your speed or include some hills to improve your heart and lung function further.
2. Lose weight
Losing weight is more than just diet and exercise. A lean body places less stress upon the heart and with reduced oxygen requirements you develop a more efficient heart and circulatory system. There are many ways to reduce body weight without vigorous exercise including low-carb eating and intermittent fasting.
3. Eat heart-healthy foods
Salmon nuts and avocado are loaded with healthy fats that are good for the heart.
A handful of almonds as an afternoon snack
Heart-healthy avocado also makes a great appetizer
Or how about some easy grilled salmon?
4. Reduce your stress levels
There are more than 1,400 biochemical responses to stress, including a rise in blood pressure and a faster heart rate. Schedule regular activities that reduce your stress.
Walks in nature - either in bushland or near a beach
Spend time with friends and family
Learn to meditate for a few minutes each day
5. Lower your inflammation
Inflammation within your body will accelerate the damage to your arteries caused by heart disease.
Eliminate the practice of adding sugar to your drinks and meals.
Brush your teeth at least twice per day
Replace all processed foods with single ingredient real foods.