Strengthening Your Heart Health While at Home

Senior couple performing stretching exercise at home
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Good heart health begins with an overall threefold strategy of eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly and avoiding certain bad habits. Of course, we all get a bit negligent at times, especially during this lockdown where everyone is spending lots of time at home. You may have started out well, keeping up with your exercise and healthy eating routines. But now, as the days and weeks have worn on, it’s easy to get lax. A few days of lying around on the couch binge watching a favorite TV show while eating pizza can make you feel lethargic.

Keep your Heart Healthy

One of the most dangerous things that can happen to our heart is for blockages to occur in the arteries. Plaque can build up in the walls of your arteries and cause a real problem. Of course, this never happens overnight. Instead, it happens over long periods of time where we don’t eat right and get the right amount of exercise. Sometimes, we develop bad habits such as smoking. All those little bad habits and poor lifestyle choices can add up and before you know it, just walking up a flight of stairs can leave you winded. So, how do we avoid that scenario?

Make Healthy Food Choices

Of course, it’s okay to indulge your cravings from time to time. Where would life be without a great slice of pepperoni pizza or some buffalo wings? The important thing here is not to make it an everyday occurrence. Fried foods can be a real problem. You can enjoy a plate of fried chicken occasionally, but not every week. There are so many effective ways to indulge your cravings while still eating healthy.

Grilling, the Great Alternative

A delicious alternative to frying is using the grill. Outdoor grills are the easy way to prepare tasty foods while staying on the road to good health. Foods that are grilled have an excellent flavor profile but they’re heart-healthy. You can marinate any food before cooking to give it an even deeper flavor. Just about everyone has a favorite marinade recipe they love but if you’re feeling adventurous, why not try the one below? It will add excellent flavor to steaks, seafood, poultry and mushrooms.

Tasty Marinade Recipe
½ cup good olive oil
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. dried basil
1 Tbsp. parsley flakes
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
Hot pepper sauce to taste

Combine ingredients in a 1 gallon plastic freezer bag. Mix them well, then add your steak, chicken, shrimp, fish or mushrooms. Steak and mushrooms can be kept in the marinade for several hours but seafood and shrimp will absorb the mixture quickly and should be removed from the bag within an hour.

Making Exercise Easy

Many of us have regular exercise routines we do and quite a few people nowadays belong to a gym. But with gyms closed, how can we stay in shape? One opportunity that we often miss is working exercise into your daily routine. When you first wake up each morning, lie in the bed a few extra moments and do some leg lifts. You can work your arms as well, while lying there waking up. If you’re waiting on the microwave, brace yourself against the countertop and do a few lunges, squats and/or knee bends.

We’re all getting a bit of cabin fever. Try doing your exercises outside occasionally. Go out on the front or back porch and do ten minutes of your favorite exercises. Enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.

Many studies have shown that a brisk walk each day can provide the same or even better benefits as most popular antidepressants. And without the harmful side effects. Though it can be relaxing to take a nice easy walk around the block, your heart will reap the greatest health benefits if you walk briskly. This gets the blood flowing through your arteries and prevents the buildup of harmful plaque.

Here are a few more good exercises you can do to stay healthy

Squats: Keep feet shoulder-width apart and back straight. Bend knees and lower your rear-end.

Lunges: Take a big step forward while keeping your spine in a neutral position.

Push-ups: Though these are usually done in the floor, if you’re just starting out, try doing them against a wall or counter.

Crunches: Begin by lying on your back with fingertips supporting head. Press low back down and begin the exercise by contracting abdominals, then gradually lifting the head, neck and shoulders.

Bicycle Maneuver: Lay flat on floor with toes pointed, then clasp your hands behind your head. Lift the right leg up to touch the elbow to the right knee, then do the left leg.

Avoid Bad Habits

Today, especially among young people, vaping has become very popular but studies are showing that it can adversely affect your heart and lungs. Whereas smoking will definitely do this over a long period of time, vaping often produces negative results much quicker. That’s why it’s important to avoid it. It may be fashionable in your peer group, but long after you’ve forgotten those folks, you may still be suffering with the negative side effects of vaping.

Cigarettes contain chemicals that are highly addictive. Once you start smoking, it can be difficult to stop. According to the CDC, smoking kills about 480,000 people each year in America alone. Research proves that it is harmful to almost every organ in the body. Plus, it’s extremely expensive these days.

Healthy Habits

It can be helpful to develop hobbies that keep your mind and your hands busy. Take up painting or sculpting. Enter a short local marathon. Photography is a wonderful activity that produces beautiful photographs of your life and family. If you live near a lake, try your hand at fishing. Those living near a beach don’t need any encouragement to learn skiing or surfing.

There are too many wonderful things about life that we can enjoy but it’s important to keep your mind and body healthy. You’ll want to be around to enjoy your family and pets for many years to come. By doing a bit of exercise each week and being careful about what we eat, we can ensure a long, healthy life.