By Swedish InstituteFebruary 08, 2018 8 Tips for a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle If you’re kicking off the New Year with a fresh attitude toward getting healthy, then you most likely have your plan in place. So, let’s literally get to the heart of the matter. Here are some ways to tweak your routine to keep your heart ticking longer and stronger. Get more sleep Who doesn’t love a good night’s sleep? But how many of us are getting the recommended seven or more hours of ZZZs every night? Not getting enough sleep can cause calcium buildup in our arteries, which could lead to early stages of heart disease. And that goes for the quality of sleep, too. Try essential oils A study suggests some exposure to essential oils, or volatile oils, can have a positive effect on cardiovascular health and help lower heart rate and blood pressure. Some essential oils that benefit heart health include: orange bergamot, chamomile, marjoram, ylang-ylang, lemongrass, ginger, rose and mandarin. Essential oils are generally considered safe, but it’s always best to consult with your doctor before adding them to your heart-healthy lifestyle plan. Watch your diet Eating a low-fat diet chocked with fresh fruits and vegetables can keep your cholesterol down and your energy up. Be sure to choose leaner cuts of meat and fresh fish to round out your meal plan. Try cutting down on saturated and trans fats which can clog your arteries and put your heart at risk. Get moving Thirty minutes of moderate exercise a day can really add up when it comes to building a heart-healthy lifestyle. And if your job keeps you glued to a desk, then try breaking up your day by standing or walking around the office. Sedentary lifestyles are bad for your heart, so if you’re not doing anything – do something. De-stress Carving out some “me” time can be more beneficial to your well-being than you think. Stress can take a toll on your heart. Meditation, yoga, exercise, or even a walk on the beach are great ways to regroup and take a break from life’s stresses. Do things you love. Your heart will love you for it. Keep your blood pressure down High blood pressure can damage the walls in your arteries, creating scar tissue and restricting the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart. This can put extra strain on your heart, making it pump harder and faster. Your doctor may put you on blood pressure controlling medication, but you must do your part, too. Cutting back on salt, reducing stress, exercising, and following a healthy diet all play a role in keeping your numbers down. Kick the habit There’s no denying that smoking is a hard habit to break but quitting now can benefit your heart and overall well-being for years to come. If you’re thinking about switching to electronic cigarettes instead, think again. The jury is still out on the health concerns over e-cigarettes, so when you’re ready to quit, it’s best to kick the habit all together. You’re not alone. Support is there if you need it. Get a massage A massage is the ultimate hands-on experience when it comes to relieving pain and stress, but did you know massage can also benefit your heart? Getting a massage regularly can help lower your blood pressure, which in the long run can lower your chances of having a heart attack. It also helps to slow heart rate and improve blood circulation. Adding massage therapy to your heart-healthy lifestyle routine is not only a non-invasive, drug-free approach to natural healing, but it feels great, too! Feel free to contact us with any questions/comments, or to learn more about the programs at Swedish Institute.