Busy days make it hard to put heart health first. It seems like you don’t have time for the habits that keep you in shape – like exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and eating a healthy diet. So maybe take the stairs whenever you can, or park away from the store to park a few extra steps each day. But what can you do? Here are three things that might fit into your schedule.
Exchange of electronic communications to meet in person
It’s okay if text messages, email, social media, or Zoom calls are your primary means of communicating with others. But it’s okay if these methods make you feel lonely or isolated — two related problems Higher risk of heart disease, heart attack, or strokeAccording to a scientific statement from the American Heart Association in Journal of the American Heart Association.
To combat loneliness and isolation, try replacing some electronic weighting with people with in-person meetings. Perhaps you can find space in your schedule for a quick picnic, a cup of coffee, or a short lunch with a friend or colleague.
“The time you spend face to face helps you connect with others and may make you feel less isolated,” explains Matthew Lee, a sociologist and research associate in the Harvard Human Prosperity Program. “Physical presence can help you feel more interacted with others, more valued, and more likely to feel a shared identity—all things that may help alleviate feelings of loneliness. That’s why some clinicians have begun to engage in ‘social prescribing,'” including This includes suggesting that people participate in volunteering and other activities that build personal social relationships.
A recent study was published in International Journal of Public Health By Lee and a team of Harvard-led researchers suggest that better social bonding may reduce the risk of infection Diagnosed with depression or anxiety. Both are linked to heart disease or make existing heart disease worse.
Replace an unhealthy breakfast with a healthier meal
Is your typical breakfast quick and full of refined (not whole) grains, processed meats, saturated fats, or added sugar? Eating this type of food regularly may increase your calories, weight, blood sugar, or cholesterol levels – which is not good for your heart.
Instead, choose high-fiber breakfast foods, a type of carbohydrate that passes through the body undigested (insoluble fiber) or dissolves in a gel (soluble fiber) that coats the intestines.
Not only does fiber aid digestion
- Traps and mops and lowers the bad [LDL] Cholesterol, which can lead to clogged arteries
- Controls blood sugar and reduces the risk of diabetes, which is highly associated with heart attacks and strokes
- It may help fight chronic inflammation that plays a role in clogging arteries and causing heart attacks.
Fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains (oats, barley, quinoa) and many other foods are rich in fiber. Try the following high-fiber breakfast ideas:
- Microwave oatmeal (heat half a cup of oatmeal with a cup of low-fat milk for about 2 minutes)
- A serving of cooked quinoa (cold, if you have it in the fridge) with a bit of non-fat Greek yogurt, berries, and granola
- Whole grains with milk (choose the ones with the highest amounts of whole grains and the least amounts of added sugars)
- A slice of whole-grain toast with 2 tablespoons of nut butter (such as almond or peanut butter)
- A handful or two of homemade mix nuts (use your favorite unsalted nuts, sunflower seeds, and dried fruit such as raisins or apricots).
Replace a few minutes of scrolling time with meditation time
If you take a break from your busy day to scroll through the news on your phone or computer, you’ll also likely find a little time to meditate, which is important for heart health. Research shows that people who meditate have lower rates of high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and coronary artery disease than people who don’t meditate.
What is the link? Meditation triggers the body’s response to relaxation, a well-studied physiological change that appears to help lower blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen consumption, adrenaline levels, and levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
The good news: It doesn’t take long to reap the heart-healthy benefits of meditation—just about 10 to 20 minutes a day.
Quick meditation ideas on a busy day include sitting quietly, closing your eyes and
- Focus on your breathing, without judging the sounds you hear or the thoughts that come to your mind
- Listen to guided meditation, which uses mental images to help you relax
- Listen to a recording of soothing sounds like waves, a stream of bubbles, or gentle rain.
Just try to calm your mind for a few minutes a day. Soon, you may find that you are getting better at meditating and better at practicing other heart-healthy habits, no matter how busy you are.
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