With all the love in the air in February, it’s a good time to ask yourself how your heart is doing. That thing in your chest that beats around 100,000 times a day, does it without you even thinking about it! 😊Given its never-ending workload it’s a wonder how it performs so well for so many people. Well, give it some thought, and some love this month, would ya?

What the Heck is Heart disease anyway? How does it show up?

Cardiovascular disease is an umbrella term for all the diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Chest Pain (angina)
  • Coronary Artery/Vascular Disease
  • Arrhythmias
  • Enlarged Heart
  • Inherited disorders or structural issues with valves

Medical Risk Factors

  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol Diet
  • Diabetes
  • Sleep Apnea

Lifestyle Risk Factors

  • Unhealthy diet
  • Low activity
  • Unhealthy weight
  • Smoking
  • Too much alcohol
  • Stress
  • Drug use
  • Birth control or Hormone Replacement Therapy

Heart disease is on the rise & it’s important to remember that there are many small changes you can make in your day to ensure that your heart is being cared for.

Here are a few tips to help show your heart some love:

  • Get tested: High blood pressure and high cholesterol are key players in determining if you are at risk for heart disease. Knowing where your levels are is important as you can decrease both of them with the right diet: Lower salt intake, decrease fatty processed foods, reducing sugar and increased fiber intake can help lower both.
  • Exercise: Regular exercise has proven to show multiple health benefits in individuals. Whether it be to reduce stress and anger, manage weight or it is a social event for you, exercise is a great way to ensure your heart is receiving the training it needs to keep on pumping!
    • This doesn’t have to mean going to the gym every day. Try to find a new hobby that will help you stay active. Some examples could include getting outdoors and trying activities such as skating, cross country skiing, gardening, or throwing a ball around.
    • At work try parking farther from the door or grabbing coffee at a shop down the street.
    • Try adding variety to stay motivated! Change up the type, location, or length of activity.
  • Eat a healthy diet: Food plays a significant role in how our bodies function. Fueling our bodies with healthy whole grains, fresh fruit/veggies, lean meats and limiting processed refined foods gives us the energy and building blocks to keep us happy and healthy. Schedule meals with family or friends to help keep you on schedule and enjoy some socializing along the way.
  • Manage Stress: Knowing you are stressed and finding ways to cope with it is a step towards managing it. There are many ways to incorporate healthy de-stressing options into your day. It can be as simple as taking a walk around the block during lunch, talking to a close friend, yoga (in a class or at home), writing in a journal, taking a fitness class, taking a dip in the pool or the bath, or in general making time for your hobbies.

Starting out small can make significant changes to your heart and your body, so don’t forget that the small things matter and keep that heart happy!

Our Team Can Help you Get on Track. If you would like some advice just give us a call.

Kendra Hainsworth, Physiotherapist Intern
Kendra Hainsworth physiotherapist Collegiate Sports Medicine

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