Heavy breathing with elevated blood pressure, heart rate beating fast, facial flushes and increased alertness; these are just a few physiological responses of our bodies whenever we see our ‘crush’ approaching or when our boyfriend bends down on his knees holding that diamond ring with words ‘Will you marry me?”. Love is indeed a universal phenomenon experienced by people all over the world regardless of age, race and gender. Although in technical and scientific context, it is the brain that functions predominantly in this emotional experience, the heart is still the widely accepted symbol for love. Considered as a vital organ, this four chambered hollow pump like smooth muscle is responsible in pumping blood all though out our body. Thus, minding our heart’s health is as important as keeping our romantic relationship strong.
Here are five simple health promotive practices to keep our heart healthy:
- DON’T FRET, CUT ON THOSE CIGARETTES. Cigarette smoking has been identified by the American Heart Association as the most significant and the leading risk factor for the development of various heart diseases. Chemicals on cigarettes such as carbon monoxide replaces some oxygen in the blood while other substances pose damage to the heart and blood vessels. Damage to these blood pathways will soon progress to atherosclerosis or narrowing of arteries leading to heart attack. Besides, who would kiss someone with a smoker’s breath?
- MOVE THOSE MUSCLES, AVOID HASSLES. Exercise is still your heart’s best friend. Daily and regular exercise hugely decreases risk of morbid heart diseases. Physical activity aids in managing your weight and decreases the strain in your heart especially controlling conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and even diabetes. Aside from its health benefits, structured work outs will get you right in shape for your wedding gown.
- EAT RIGHT, BE BRIGHT. Complementary to proper and regular exercise is proper diet. Two of the ideal heart – healthy diet plans include DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) and the Mediterranean diet. Shrug off those fatty munches on your food plans and go green with fruits and vegetables. Whole grains, lean red meat and fish would be perfect meal combos too. Eating right means drinking right as well. Keep an eye on your alcohol intake, moderation is the solution. So next time you choose your dinner date menu on Valentine’s Day, make the right choices.
- QUALITY SLEEP, YOU SHOULD KEEP. Depriving yourself with enough sleep opens doors for obesity, elevated high blood pressure, heart attacks, diabetes and even depression. Ideally, our body needs seven to nine hours of sleep every day. Make sleep a priority in your life. Manage to have an effective sleep schedule, of course don’t forget to get yourself a huggable cuddle buddy.
- BE AWARE, DON’T BE SCARED. Screening yourself early is not too scary. Remember that prevention is always better than cure. Awareness of your health status gives you signals weather you are living your lifestyle on the right track. Monitor your blood pressure within optimal levels preferably less than 120/80 mmHg. Mind your cholesterol levels at least once in five years and you may want to consider if your blood sugar levels. Diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease development, and early screening really helps a lot.
Remember that studies show 30,000 people fall in love every day and in this figure 2,200 die from cardiovascular diseases. This heart month, do yourself a huge favor, take care of your heart as much as you can, just like those lines from a song, “the greatest love of all is easy to achieve, learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all”. Have a hearty happy Valentines!
Written by Iril Ian Rollo