to Improve Your Heart Health

5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Heart Health

February is American Heart Month: a whole month focused on raising awareness about heart health and prevention of heart disease-with over 600,000 Americans dying of heart disease every year, this is a significant subject for everyone to be aware of!

Most people never consider their heart health until an issue is brought to their attention by their doctor or some sort of incident.

The reality is that everyone should be doing little things everyday -even when they’re young- to maintain a healthy heart so as to never get to the point where it‘s anything more serious and time consuming.

How can you maintain heart health without overwhelming your already busy routine though?

I know you have a lot to do and are a very busy woman-the idea of adding lengthy workouts or consuming diets to your day sounds torturous!

I’ve got some good news for you though: there are so many simple ways to maintain your heart health, they are easy to do and they are good for so many other parts of your health that you’ve probably heard them before!

For the sake of not overwhelming you, I’ve narrowed down my list to these 5 Heart Health Essentials for Everyone:

stay Hydrated

1) Stay Hydrated.

I know you’ve heard this one before.

The body is almost 70% water so maintaining proper hydration is essential to literally every bodily function from the brain’s ability to focus and coordinate, to the digestive system’s ability to process food.

As it relates specifically to your heart health, dehydration causes the blood to thicken, which causes high blood pressure and puts increased pressure on the heart to work harder.

Extended periods of high blood pressure will start to cause arterial damage and strain on the heart that can lead to irregular heartbeat.

All this because you couldn’t be bothered to drink 2 liters of water a day…it doesn’t make sense.

Hydrate now and spare yourself a world of mess later!

heart healthy choices

2) Be modest with animal product.

Plant-based choices are another one of those suggestions that are beneficial in multiple ways.

Plant-based and vegan (learn the difference between the two here) lifestyles are known for:

  • The positive environmental impact
  • The reduction in risk of cancer
  • The increased intake of fiber, vitamins and minerals and so much more!

One of the biggest selling points of plant-based eating is a significant improvement in cardiovascular health.

You can significantly reduce vascular stress and heart strain by minimizing red meat intake to 8-12 ounces of red meat a week or less. And instead of just replacing all of that with another meat, further benefit your heart health by eating at least 1-2 meatless meals a week or more!

This may require a little recipe research but meatless options are becoming increasingly accessible, and tasty! If you have specific questions, set up a virtual coffee with me and we can chat!

eat fiber for heart health

3) Eat plenty of fiber.

Fiber is something that most people tend to think of in relation to digestion and constipation, but just everything else on this list, fiber is multifunctional.

When it comes to heart health, fiber is helping your body do two main things: lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure.

To help lower the cholesterol, the fiber in your food simply attaches itself to the lipoproteins and allows them to pass through the digestive tract instead of being deposited to the blood stream.

By avoiding depositing a high amount of food-sourced cholesterol into the blood stream, you prevent an inflammatory response and allow for a more regulated blood pressure level.

Most women should aim for around 25 grams of fiber a day, preferably sourced from whole foods such as grains, fruits and vegetables.

increase heart rate for heart health

4) Do activity that raises your heart rate.

Consider for a second, the fact that your cardiovascular system is actually a living pumping system…

Your heart is like a mechanized water pump and your arteries, veins and capillaries are the pipelines that run into your kitchen and bathroom.

Now imagine all your pipes are full of water, but not draining, not running, not going anywhere-just sitting there getting stagnant and smelly.

Considering that, how would you think to clean them out?

You’d probably start running clean water through the pipes, and let it flush out the old water until it ran clear, right?

Well, that’s exactly the purpose of doing activity that elevates your heart rate-it helps you flush out your cardiovascular pipes to remove anything making you feel slag or unhealthy. Pair that with healthy foods, and you’ll be cleaned out and rejuvenated in no time!

Any heart rate elevating workout will be fine: dancing, hiking, speed walking-you can do so much more than just running! For a quick way to do both your muscle-building and cardiovascular exercise at the same time, try out our Revenge Bod Program!

heart health and stress

5 ) Manage stress.

Stress is a BIG factor in your heart health, and -at the risk of being redundant- it is just like everything else I’ve detailed here because managing your stress will benefit multiple facets of your health.

Stress is so impactful that you can do everything for your health -eat vegan, exercise regularly, stretch- and still develop a chronic condition as a result of a high-stress lifestyle!

Conditions that are categorized as “Somatic Syndrome” are examples of this.

Your cardiovascular health specifically, is affected by stress in a few different ways:

  1. Stress elevates the heart rate, and if that continues for extended periods of time it can cause vascular damage and strain the heart muscles.
  2. Stress triggers the inflammatory response which can cause vascular inflammation and high blood pressure. I’ve experienced an otherwise healthy client suffer from chronic hypertension simply from living a high-stress lifestyle.
  3. Stress causes increased blood sugar levels, which not only increases the risk for diabetes and stroke, it also thickens the blood and further contributes to hypertension, heart strain and arterial damage.

Make the time to destress with activities such as breathing exercise, journaling, massages, quiet time, sound baths or anything that helps release your physical and mental tension.

One of my favorite ways to relax is by doing yoga because of the emphasis on the mind-body connection!

This is a lot of information but I’m sure you’ve heard at least most of these basic directives before-they tend to pass in one ear and out the other for most of us, but they are really worth a pause and effort to implement into your health routine.

Your heart is one the most crucial organs in your body-if it malfunctions even a little it can seriously disrupt your lifestyle.

Pay a little respect to your future self, and do something to improve your heart health this month-your heart and your healthy future self will thank you!

 Remember: you are WORTH IT!

This article was written by Elexis Smolak CPT, CNC, founder of Adapted Fitness and Integrative Health and Fitness Specialist. Learn more or schedule a virtual coffee at