It’s American Heart Month, and while it’s good to show your heart a lot of love year round, February is a great time to evaluate how you’re doing and maybe even add some new things into your heart health regimen. Here’s the deal: Optimal heart health is more than just physical movement and nutrition. A holistic approach works best when it comes to taking care of your heart, focusing on your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. It’s about your complete life and lifestyle., and when any part of either is neglected, your heart and your overall health can suffer in all of those areas. It’s like this: Happy heart, happy life. Plain and simple.
Heart disease is the #1 cause of death in the US, and it’s no respecter of gender, ethnicity, race, or economic status. Learn more about heart disease and the risk factors here.
It’s not uncommon to hear about the importance of prioritizing self-care (you might even call it a popular buzzword these days), and we often think of self-care in an overall way. But focusing on self-care specifically for your heart is important too, and when you practice self-care for your heart, your entire body can benefit in some pretty amazing ways physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually! Here are just a few:
- Healthier blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other diseases including some cancers
- Decreased occurrence of mental health issues like stress, anxiety, depression, and mood disorders
- Better cognitive function as you age
3 Simple Self-Care Tips for Your Heart
So, how can you make sure that you’re showing your most important organ—your heart—all the love it needs? How can you make heart self-care a priority? It’s easier than you think, and here are 3 ways you can practice self-care for you and your heart:
1. Watch what you eat
What you feed your body affects all areas of your body, including your heart, so it’s important to make sure you’re fueling your body with foods that will give you the energy you need so you can do all the things you want to do as well as help keep your heart as healthy as possible. Here are five of our favorites:
- Dark green leafy vegetables: Spinach, kale, collard greens, and so on.
- Whole grains
- Dark chocolate—the darker the better!
Don’t forget to add protein to your heart healthy eating plan too as it can go a long way to reducing your risk of heart disease. Proteins like tuna, salmon, poultry, and Greek yogurt are great choices, and even though beans, nuts, and nut butters aren’t high in protein, they’re still great options for heart health too.
Find more ideas for heart-healthy foods you can add to your nutrition program.
2. Move your body
A body that moves regularly is one key to a healthy heart. Your heart is a muscle, and just like with your other muscles, it has to be worked to be strengthened, and the stronger it is, the better it will work. The best way to strengthen your heart is through movement, including both cardio and strength training. And this doesn’t mean you need to spend hours and hours working out! A few minutes at a time can make a difference in the health of your heart, in your energy levels, how you feel day in and day out (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually), and more. If you’re new to physical activity, walking is a great place to start!
Short on time to work out? Get in 2 ½ minutes of movement anytime, anywhere with our FREE Move 1 Million app! Learn more here.
Before we move on to our last tip, The Transform App has you covered with both nutrition and exercise. With over 600 meals, several workout programs, hydration and step trackers, and more, the app is your all-in-one transformation and heart self-care tool. Try the app for 7 days FREE here!
3. Make mindfulness a priority
When it comes to taking care of your heart, mindfulness might not be on your radar. But it really needs to be part of your heart self-care program. Why? Experts have found that mindfulness can actually play a part in reducing your risk of heart disease, and it makes sense. Mindfulness can help decrease your stress, anxiety, and depression levels as well as lower your blood pressure and simply help you feel better. And all of these things can contribute to your heart health. So, if mindfulness isn’t on your to-do list, here’s one area where one small change can make a big difference!
One of our favorite ways to practice mindfulness is through box breathing, which can be done pretty much anytime and anywhere. Go here for the how-to.
While you’re focusing on taking care of those you love the most this month (and hopefully all of the time!), make sure you’re also taking care of you and your heart. A little heart self-care can go a long way to ensuring your heart is as healthy as possible for years to come as well as making it possible for you to do all the amazing things you want to do.
Need help getting started on or with completing your transformation journey? We have an amazing team of coaches to help you nail your goals!