seniors hands around a hearth - heart health

Your heart works hard, day in and day out. It never stops. To make sure it keeps running and to increase your longevity, you have to take care of it.

All it takes are a few small changes to your lifestyle. These simple adjustments will make a big impact in your heart health over time. Start with one, then gradually add on to get going toward a healthy ticker. Heart Health Facts: What You Can Do Right Now to Improve Yours

Don’t dismiss the small habits and actions you can implement to improve your health right now.

Get Enough Sleep

The importance of a good night’s rest can’t be overemphasized. At least seven hours a night can do wonders for your mental and physical well-being, and that includes your heart. According to WebMD, a study found that adults who got at least seven hours showed fewer signs of developing heart disease than those who got comparatively more sleep (nine or more hours) or less (five hours or under).

Don’t Smoke

Smoking is one of the biggest risk factors for all types of problems, including heart disease. Smoking can damage the lining of your arteries and decrease the amount of oxygen in your blood. To put it bluntly, if you smoke, quit, and if you don’t smoke, don’t start.

Drink Red Wine

You’ve heard it before, and it’s true: drinking red wine in moderation is good for your heart. Red wine contains beneficial substances, including antioxidants that can raise your good cholesterol and protect against bad cholesterol from building up on the lining of your arteries.

In addition, red wine contains polyphenols, which may help keep your blood vessels healthy along with preventing blood clots. In general, the best red wine for heart health is Pinot Noir, which tends to have the highest amount of polyphenols due to grape growing conditions. Other good options are Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. When in doubt, look for a red wine that is older, in particular, one that has aged slowly.

Get Moving

One of the best things you can do for your heart is to get moving. A staggering number of Americans are almost completely sedentary, which means that most of us spend the majority of our lives sitting. This is bad for your health and bad for your heart.

Instead of the sedentary life, choose to get involved with fun activities for both heart and family health. There are plenty of things you can do together to get you outside and active. For instance, go for a family hike or bike ride, go swimming, play a game of tag, or work together on a backyard garden. It doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you are having fun and moving your bodies.

Avoid Salt

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, over-consumption of salt is one of the leading factors that results in heart disease. To cut back on your salt intake, avoid processed, packaged foods and drive-thru meals. Avoid over-salting your home-cooked meals, and instead, try a salt-free seasoning.

Adopt a PetHappy elderly lady holding her little pet dog outdoors in the garden.

True or false: adopting a pet can significantly reduce your stress levels, and thus safeguard your heart.

If you answered “true” for this spur-of-the-moment heart health quiz, you’re absolutely right.

Pet owners get benefits from their four-legged friends beyond just unconditional love and companionship. They also get lowered blood pressure, lowered heart rates, and lowered stress, according to News in Health. Plus, pet owners have generally been found to be more active than those without pets, and more activity is great for your heart.

The health benefits of any of these small changes are clear: change your life one small step at a time, and you’ll build better heart health for a longer life.