Main Line Health Home

Main Line Health

How To Be Heart Healthy When You’re…

How to Be Heart Health WhenHeart health isn’t independent of our daily activities. Instead, our daily routines—what we eat, how often we exercise, even how we work—can affect heart health.

Below, Main Line Health clinicians offer tips on how to be heart healthy when you’re…

Exercising: If you’re primarily pumping iron at the gym, find a way to work in cardio exercise, too, like walking, running, swimming or biking. After all, there’s a reason it’s called ‘cardio.’

“150 minutes per week of moderate exercise can improve your blood circulation and cholesterol, as well as reduce your risk of stroke and help you control your weight and stress levels, which are also contributors to heart disease,” says Donald Ferrari, DO, cardiologist at Paoli Hospital.

Kick off your cardio routine with 10-15 minute walks three times per day, and try to work up to a half hour of exercise five days per week.

Eating: They say you are what you eat, and your heart works the same way. Red meat and salty or sugary process foods can take their toll on your heart. Next time you’re hungry, reach for foods that contribute to a healthy heart, like potatoes, soy, almonds, salmon, black beans, and fresh herbs. And stay heart healthy in the kitchen, too.

“Instead of frying foods, grill, boil, or bake meats and steam vegetables. These methods don’t add additional fat,” says Rebecca Shenkman, MPH, RD, LDN of Bryn Mawr Hospital. “Choose fresh herbs and lemon juice to season food rather than salty mixtures from the grocery store shelves.”

Drinking: If you’re dedicated to eating healthy, you should be dedicated to drinking healthy, too. Excessive alcohol intake can cause high blood pressure and obesity, and increase your risk for stroke. Stick to the guidelines for alcohol intake to make sure you’re heart healthy with every sip.

“Drinking alcohol is appropriate in moderation,” says David Jones, DO, medical director of Mirmont Treatment Center. “Most people tend to forget that a drink is either 12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine, and 1.5 ounces of other spirits. Men shouldn’t have more than one to two drinks per day, and women should only have one.”

Sleeping: That’s right; heart health is important even when you’re sleeping. Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep or poor quality of sleep on a regular basis can increase your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. If you’re experiencing sleepless nights on a regular basis, follow these tips from Paoli Hospital’s Sleep Medicine team to improve your sleeping habits and heart health.

Working: Taking steps towards a heart-healthy lifestyle is great, as long as you’re not ignoring your heart for the 40 hours a week you spend in the office. You wouldn’t sit for eight hours straight any other day, so don’t do it during the week. Take short, frequent breaks to walk around or try doing a couple minutes of work standing up, like taking a phone call

In addition to the inactivity that comes with an office environment, consider the toll stress is taking on your heart.

“Managing your stress can decrease your risk for heart attack, but it can also improve your attitude and make you more positive in the long run,” says Irving Herling, MD, Director of Clinical Cardiology for Lankenau Medical Center and Main Line HealthCare.

Stay heart healthy all year by visiting our website for health calculators and more information about our heart health services. Looking for more heart-healthy tips? Like us on Facebook.

Leave a Comment