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Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle for a Healthy Heart

Almost everyone has heard about the importance of a healthy lifestyle, but some people still do not understand what that means.

Does it mean we should only be eating salads or living in the gym? Even when it comes to maintaining an acceptable blood pressure, the food we eat plays a significant role. Leading a healthy lifestyle is more than just doing exercises and eating healthy, it's about the decisions we make on a daily basis for ourselves.

Now I know what you’re thinking, how can exercise and eating healthier help us if we are already in heart failure? Well, I’m here to tell you that anything helps. I am going to give you 3 ways you can promote a healthy lifestyle for a healthy heart.

Exercise

Exercise when it comes to heart failure is somewhat taboo. Depending on where you are in your heart failure journey, your body may dictate how active you can be.

This is because fatigue affects us all differently. I remember when I had just started my heart failure journey, fatigue kept me from being my usual active self. Just getting up from the couch would make me feel tired. I remember my cardiologist telling me not to become a couch potato so I had to learn to fight the urge.

The National Institute of Health states,

"When done regularly, moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity strengthens your heart muscle. This improves your heart's ability to pump blood to your lungs and throughout your body. As a result, more blood flows to your muscles, and oxygen levels in your blood rise."1

Even something as simple as getting up and moving around the house is a form of exercise.

As with any form of exercise you want to make sure that you consult your cardiologist before you start any form of exercise regimen.

Walking is a good form of exercise for those who are able. It's good for strengthening bones, lowering blood pressure, the cardiovascular system, and even reducing belly fat.

Diet

Diet is very vital for the heart as well as other organs in the human body. When you eat right and in turn you start to feel better. The American Heart Association states that,

"Eating a heart-healthy diet is important for managing your blood pressure and reducing your risk of heart attack, stroke and other health threats."2

Some of you may have heard cardiologists say we should be eating the rainbow. What they mean by that is to eat fruits and vegetables in all different colors. And eating whole grains such as oatmeal and whole wheat products.

Choosing foods that are minimally processed and foods with little salt is a good start to a healthy heart diet. Last but not least consuming healthy proteins such as fish, and lean minimally processed meats. Don’t forget about nuts like walnuts, almonds, pecans, and many others. Luckily we have many options at the store today, you can easily get nuts without salt.

As with exercise, make sure you consult your cardiologist before changing or trying out new diets.

Mental health

Many of you a probably wondering how what your mental health has to do with leading a healthy heart lifestyle. Your mental health is just as important as your heart health.

Many of us are going through disappointing doctor visits and are often stressing over a multitude of things which is not beneficial for our mental health.

Depression and anxiety are also a part of heart failure. Practicing gratitude is helpful. I always remember when my pastor had said no matter what you are going through there is somebody out there who's going through worse. It helped me put things into perspective.

Giving yourself grace is another one that I still struggle with. I am always hard on myself when something goes wrong I tend to scold myself. And it's ok to tell yourself it’s ok. You have all the permission in the world to feel down some days, just don’t stay down. You can also talk to a therapist which I’ve tried as well.

Living a heart-healthy lifestyle with heart failure

So there you have it. These are just 3 ways you can do to start living a heart-healthy lifestyle.

What do you do to live a heart-healthy lifestyle? Share in the comments section below, or share your story with the community by clicking the button below!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Heart-Failure.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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