We all know that stress is bad for us, but in which ways does it actually harm our body, namely our hearts?
In order to keep our hearts healthy, it is critical that we limit the amount of anxiety and stress in our lives.
It is important that we first recognize where our stress and anxiety are coming from. How stressed you are and what stresses you out, depends on your individual situation. Is someone at work giving you a hard time? Is school overwhelming you? Or is your spouse neglecting you? Are you stressed out by parenting? Stress can be caused by a myriad of things and it can be uncomfortable to think about your problems, but figuring out the root cause is the first step in taking preventative measures to reduce it and protect your heart.
Some level of anxiety is naturally triggered by our flight or fight response, which plays a major role in motivating us to react to a given situation. So there isn't a surefire way to fully eliminate stress but luckily there are ways we can cope with it. In order to do this, we need to take a look at exactly how our hearts are affected by stress.
Stress Increases Inflammation
Day to day stress can cause inflammation to occur throughout the body, which can then start to clog the arteries around your heart. This blockage will make it very difficult for your heart to pump blood to important parts of your body, like the brain or the legs.
Studies show that the people dealing with extreme emotional difficulties in life, such as grieving the loss of loved ones or being part of the military, are more likely to experience heart problems!
To keep your heart healthy, consider engaging in daily meditation. Try it right now. For a few minutes, sit somewhere quiet and take a deep breath, in and out. Relax for one minute, try to forget about whatever is happening in your life and start to focus on the most positive blessing in your life. Hold that thought, hold it for as long as you can and let the gratitude encompass you. Remember to keep taking deep breaths while focusing. This focus is practice for your brain to help it remember what you have in your life, your blessings and all the things you have done right.
Meditation helps you to achieve inner peace by providing a method to balance out negativity and positivity, which is why it is as important as a workout routine. Just like our body, our mind needs to burn off anxiety and negativity, which is harmful for us. Consider meditating often to keep unwanted inflammation away and to avoid cardiovascular problems in the future.
Stress Raises Blood Pressure
The ideal blood pressure (BP) reading that you should have is 120/80. This specific range will help keep your heart in good condition and work to keep your blood flowing to and from your heart.
Stress can cause your BP reading to spike and over time, this can damage your heart and your arteries. This could potentially lead to heart disease or even a heart attack if left untreated.
Deep breathing exercises and laughing therapy do a great job to bring down BP levels. So be sure to add them to your daily routine.
More Ways to Reduce Stress
1) Start a Daily Walking Routine to Improve Heart Health
When it comes to keeping your heart healthy, we all know that exercise plays a major role. One of the simplest exercises to do is walking every day.
Not only does this improve blood flow but it also provides your lungs with some fresh air.
This is by far one of the least expensive exercises you can do. It does not require any gym membership or equipment. Comfortable clothing and a good pair of tennis shoes, is all you need to get going.
Knowing how the heart benefits by walking can be all the incentive you need to get started.
Walking strengthens your heart and strengthening your heart is key to avoiding many heart problems.
Engaging in a walking routine helps to increase your heart rate. When your heart rate goes up, your body works to pump more blood into your heart muscles.
It is ideal to do some power walking either on the treadmill or while you’re walking around the neighborhood. When you take a stroll, it's relaxed and not so intense on your body. Your muscles and heart are calm. On the other hand, power-walking is done while speeding up your walking without running. This ensures that your heart rate is elevated to pump blood throughout your body. This is an effective way to build a stronger cardiovascular system.
2) Maintain Body Weight
One of the best things you can do for your heart is to be at the right body weight or BMI (Body Mass Index) for your height. Obesity or "excessive fat accumulation, can result in significant damage to the heart.
Walking is an effective way to burn fat and reduce calories to help you maintain your overall weight.
However, do keep in mind that losing one pound requires you to decrease your caloric intake by 3500 calories! This is much easier when done in steps.
Start by reducing your caloric intake by 500-1000 per day to help you slim down over time. Keep track of what you consume, the calorie count and if it is really good for you or not. Slowly lessen the amount of calories you eat altogether. Make a healthy meal plan instead and follow it for at least 21 days to form the habit. It is important to remember that eating less calories does not mean to stop eating altogether or to starve yourself. A balanced diet is still incredibly important for your overall health and to prevent other problems for your body.
We hope you found this article useful.
At Crescentt, we value reducing stress and feeling at peace with ourselves for living at our best. Sometimes all it takes is self-care and awareness to achieve that goal. Look out for more articles from us to help you with wellness & self-care at home!