Every aspect of your health is important, but it’s especially vital to take care of your heart. You know a lot of the things that are bad for your heart already, like smoking, drinking to excess, and eating fatty foods. But there are a number of other harmful heart habits that you need to be aware of, so you can keep yours in stellar condition.
1. Being Sedentary
A lot of harmful heart habits have to do with your lifestyle. More and more people are leading increasingly sedentary lifestyles. They don’t get the exercise they need, they aren’t active enough, and that puts much more strain on their heart than a steady exercise schedule. As a matter of fact, even if you do exercise, you are still harming your heart if you sit around for hours, watching TV. Too much sitting has negative impacts the levels of sugar and fat in your blood.
2. Staying Stressed and Depressed
Feelings of depression, stress, tension, and hostility are very bad for your heart – especially if you don’t get help for those feelings. You really do need to take time to vent and talk about your feelings. When you internalize them, you do damage to your mental, emotional, and physical health. Don’t be afraid to get help; it will benefit you in so many ways.
3. Distancing Yourself
There are times when you need to be alone and you don’t want to talk to anyone and be bothered – that’s natural. Completely distancing yourself from your world, however, and withdrawing from the people and things you love, is another of those subtle but lethal harmful heart habits. There are correlations showing that people who maintain strong connections live healthy and long lives.
4. Going to Extremes
Maybe Billy Joel goes to extremes, but you shouldn’t. An “all or nothing” kind of life is an incredibly harmful heart habit. Although exercise is healthy, you can’t throw yourself into it and get obsessive, just like you can’t obsessively overeat. You need to maintain a healthy balance, be steady but not over enthusiastic. That’s actually better for you.
5. Forgetting to Floss
Believe it or not, if you don’t floss regularly, you can do damage to your heart. It has to be said, no one really knows what there is, but there does seem to be a relationship between heart disease and gum disease. The bacteria that builds up when you don’t floss results in gum disease; this bacteria can also cause inflammation, which can ultimately lead to heart disease. It definitely pays to practice good oral hygiene.
6. Avoiding Your Veggies
What you eat – or don’t eat – definitely affects your heart. It’s imperative to eat enough fruits and vegetables; both need to be an integral part of your diet. You’ll also benefit by incorporating proteins, whole grains, low fat dairy products, and nuts into your diet. If you stay away from bad fats and sugars, junk food, and things like that, you’ll be doing your heart a world of good.
7. Ignoring Your Body
One of the most harmful heart habits it is involves ignoring what your body is trying to tell you. Your body will always send you messages about what it needs and what’s going on with it, and it’s your job to listen as closely as possible. If you get out of breath when you walk upstairs or long distances, find yourself having chest pains or pressure, or any number of other signs, you need to go see your doctor immediately.
8. Packing in the Salt
Lastly, you have to stay away from too much salt. High salt intake will make your blood pressure increase. If your blood pressure is too high, you increase the risk of having a heart attack, kidney failure, or a stroke. That is why it’s so important to avoid junk food and other foods that are high in sodium. You shouldn’t be ingesting more than 2,300 milligrams each day, unless your blood pressure is already high, at which point you should lower your consumption to about 1,500 milligrams.
Cutting out those harmful heart habits can save your life. Moreover, your overall lifestyle will be much better. What kinds of things do you do to keep your heart healthy and happy?
Top Photo Credit: Che-burashka