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The Impact of Stress on Your Heart


 

Over the last two weeks we have covered nutrition and the importance of exercise for Heart Health, this week let’s discuss stress and lifestyle choices and how they can impact your heart health. Keep reading below for more information on stress and optimizing your lifestyle habits for a healthy heart!

 

The Impact of Stress on the Body


In small doses, stress can be beneficial for reaching deadlines, reaching a new goal, and even be lifesaving in dangerous situations. On the other hand, chronic stress has the opposite effect and can have negative impacts such as:

·       Developing or worsening anxiety, depression, irritability, and insomnia.

·       High blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

·       Increased risk factors for heart disease such as smoking, overeating, and reduced physical activity.

·       Increased inflammation can also lower HDL (good) cholesterol and raise LDL (bad) cholesterol. 

·       Reduced quality of sleep.

·       Increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

·       Decreased weight management.

 

Tips to Manage Stress

 

Go Outside – Spending time in nature and soaking in Vitamin D can help to reduce stress, improve your mood, and even give mental clarity.  

 

Exercise Regularly - Boost your mood and reduce stress with activity! Exercise promotes the production of serotonin, a feel-good hormone that can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

 

Make Time for Friends and Family - It’s important to maintain social connections, share happy moments, and talk about difficulties in life. Building strong connections can help to reduce and recover from stress, anxiety, and depression. These connections can also help promote healthy eating, regular exercise, and improve quality of life. 

 

Practice Relaxation & Meditation - Blood pressure decreases when meditating, this can reduce strain on the heart, helping to prevent heart disease. Start with meditating for 5 minutes daily and work your way up to meditating for 20 minutes or more daily.  If meditation is not for you – think about what relaxes you and try incorporating that activity into your daily routine. This could be something such as a warm bath or journaling.

 

Breathe Deeply – Deep breathing helps to relieve stress and lower blood pressure; we have included a link to help you practice 4 different types of breathwork. 

 

Get Enough Sleep – Sleep is the body's favorite and most effective recovery tool; the average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Getting enough quality sleep regularly can have the following benefits:

 

·       Lower Blood Pressure

·       Regulated Blood Sugar

·       Improved Brain Function

·       Improved Immune Function

·       Decreased Stress

·       Improved Mood

·       Improved Ability to Maintain a Healthy Weight 

 

Stress can have a large impact on your overall health and has a direct correlation to Heart Health. If you have been feeling off lately, take the time to check in with yourself and assess your stress levels.

 

If you have questions or want more tips on decreasing stress and improving lifestyle habits, contact one of our Health and Fitness professionals today at personaltraining@heavensacademy.com

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