10 Easy Tricks for Heart Health that Even Busy Moms Can Do
Heart disease is the number one killer of women, contributing to nearly a third of all deaths every year. We know that we need to be concerned about our cardiovascular health, but as busy moms, we have a tendency to let our own health concerns take a backseat to everything else that needs to be done. Even the basics of maintaining a healthy heart — diet and exercise — often fall by the wayside in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Keeping your heart healthy doesn’t have to be complicated, though. In fact, there’s a good chance that you’re already doing many of the things that you need to do keep your ticker in tip-top shape. By adding a few healthier habits to your daily routine, you can help reduce your risk of heart disease.
1. Sleep More
Most of us don’t get nearly enough sleep. Between the kids and the desire for some “me time” after they go to bed, most of us stay up far too late and get up much too early. However, not getting enough shuteye can cause stress, as well as chemical imbalances in the blood that hurt your heart. Aim for eight hours of sleep per night; try going to bed an hour or two earlier than usual to avoid a harmful sleep deficit.
You might floss just to prevent a lecture from the dentist, but flossing can also benefit your heart. Studies show that the bacteria in your mouth can contribute to blood clots and even cause a heart attack, so don’t skip the floss!
3. Drink More Caffeine
Caffeine is often blamed for a host of ills, but research shows that women who drink three to five cups of coffee per day actually have a significantly reduced risk of heart disease. Don’t like coffee? Certain herbal teas have been proven to support heart health, and many contain caffeine.
4. Get a Hobby
Engaging in an activity you enjoy can reduce stress and increase the feel-good hormones that help your heart. Make time for the things you like to do.
5. Eat More Chocolate
Not that you need an excuse, but eating a small serving of dark chocolate each day can lower cholesterol and blood pressure, two of the factors in heart disease. Limit your indulgence to about 150 calories, and choose chocolate that’s as unprocessed as possible.
6. Exercise in the Afternoon
Working out at any time of the day is helpful, but studies show that people who work out in the later part of the day tend to be more vigorous and energetic in their workouts, thereby increasing the benefits of the exercise. Your muscles are already warmed and limber in the afternoon, allowing you to push yourself further. Try taking an afternoon walk, or bring the whole family outside for a walk or game of tag to make working out fun and effective.
7. Have a Laugh
Think about the last time you really had a great laugh. You probably felt happier — and almost like you worked out. Laughter releases oxytocin, a feel-good chemical, as well as endorphins, the same hormones that are released when you exercise. So try to find the humor in every day: Talk with a friend, watch a funny movie or show, or check out your favorite blogs. It’s good for you!
8. Use Olive Oil
There’s a reason heart disease is less prevalent in Mediterranean countries. Most cooks there use olive oil — and olive oil is proven to help improve heart health. The monounsaturated fats in olive oil help reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol, and might even help reduce blood clotting and help regulate blood sugar and insulin levels. Olive oil is still high in calories, though, so use it in moderation.
9. Get More Sunshine
The sun isn’t the enemy. In fact, it’s good for your heart! Exposure to sunlight helps increase production of vitamin D, an essential vitamin for cardiovascular health. While many foods are fortified with vitamin D, a few minutes of exposure to sunlight can provide more than the recommended daily allowance. Just slather on the sunscreen if you’ll be outdoors much longer.
10. Eat Nuts
As long as you aren’t allergic, nuts are a perfect snack to tide you over until dinner when the 3 p.m. cravings hit. Packed with plant sterols and Omega-3 fatty acids, a one ounce serving of unprocessed raw nuts will give you protein to keep you satiated until dinner and help your heart.
Staying healthy doesn’t have to be difficult. With just a few small changes to your diet and lifestyle, you can keep your heart in good shape, even if you haven’t seen the inside of a gym since the kids were born.
Sarah L says
Those are good points. I need more sleep.
Amber Ludwig says
Im all for sleeping and drinking more coffee!! Now if only my kiddo would let me get away with it lol 😉
I didn’t realize that exercising in the afternoon is better for you. That makes me feel better about having to walk after work now rather than being able to walk in the morning to take my son to school.
this is definitely a great list of tips
Dorothy Teel says
Wonderful reminders, I really like the others need more sleep and I forgot that nuts are good for our hearts and of course exercise and laugh get rid of stressors..
Jennifer Boehme says
I knew about the sunshine providing Vitamin D, and brushing your teeth, and glad you gave a whole list. I learned some things.
kara kudro says
These are great tips, the ones I struggle with the most having young children would be sleeping and making time for exercise. It really does make the difference between a difficult day and once that can be managed
I do everything on the list. Well, almost. I never exercise. I just cant bring myself to because I’m lazy.
violet taylor says
i walready do a lot of these, and my heart is nice and strong
Wanda Tracey says
Wow! These are great reminders and tips.I really appreciate knowing this as I learned a few things today.
Dorothy Hubbard says
Thanks for the helpful tips, especially the one on caffaine that I was not aware of.
KATE SARSFIELD says
I’m a firm believer in the power of laughter! A good belly laugh leaves us feeling so good!
Sarah L says
Sleeping, laughing and swimming 3 times a week are good for me.
Samantha Wagamon says
You have to remember to always take care of yourself first. Thanks for the helpful information.
belinda bell says
I love all of the tips on having a healthy heart
Kimberly B says
I really need to get more sleep and I’ll happily drink more tea and chocolate! LOL!
Sue M. says
I wasn’t aware about exercising in the afternoon being so beneficial, but it does make sense (would also help prevent the afternoon sleepiness I get). These are really helpful tips, thanks for posting!
Renee Rousseau says
I found lots of good healthful tips that I can easily do! I especially love #5!
Wanda Tracey says
Wow! Thanks for all of this wonderful information.I was glad to learn all of these tips and tricks to have a healthy heart.I had no idea that flossing was important to the heart and so grateful that I do when I learned that.
violet taylor says
this is a great list, i often think im too busy to take care of me!
Jerry Marquardt says
I like your nice pointers to staying heart healthy. I am committed to getting back on track.
michelle combs says
this is good to know because heart disease runs in my family
There is heart disease in my family and it was one of the big motivators for me to lose weight. I lost in total of 93 pounds and I feel better than I did in my 20’s! I know my heart is stronger and healthier because of my change in diet and exercise! 🙂
Sue Mullaney says
These are very helpful suggestions. Thanks a lot for posting!
Deb E says
This is a great list and sleeping more is one of the easiest to do, but also the hardest to keep up. I’m really working on it, but am not as consistent as I’d like.
Susan Smith says
Great tips! My daughter and I would take daily bike rides. It was a fun way to get exercise!
Linda L. says
Great article, learn somethin’ new everyday! I’m doing some of these things already but there were a lot I didn’t know about. Definitely need to work on vit d levels 🙂
All this tips are so very informative.. I try to follow a heart healthy diet for the family including olive oil and of course exercise.. Now when I have that third cup of coffee I can say it is for my heart!
Nancy Burgess says
Great list of tips thank you for sharing them.These are very helpful.
These are all good tips, and none feel like another burden!
Sarah Kurtz says
What great tips! I definitely could use more sleep and chocolate lol… heart disease is very serious and we should take care of ourselves.
Kathleen Kelly says
Great tips, I recently had a heart procedure and these tips sound worth trying! Thanks for sharing.
Christina G. says
I like these tips. Thanks for sharing!
Sue Mullaney says
I don’t have any kids myself, but I do know I have a higher risk of heart problems as it runs in my family. I do try to make sure I get enough exercise and follow a healthy diet. Thanks for posting these tips!
Amy Green says
Tip Number Two I had learned a long time ago from tv. Actress/talk-show host/comedienne Joy Behar recommended this one because she says she always carries floss in her purse.
I read about how caffeine helped reduced heart problems a great while back, but I haven’t came across any more articles, about it, until now. Thanks for sharing such great tips/reminders,
Lisa Ogle says
These are some awesome tips, I do most of these things already ( makes me pretty awesome to!) , I did not that about the flossing the teeth, that is scary.I love #5 eat more dark chocolate. I am down with that one for sure. Thanks!
Jeanna Massman says
I love these tips! Most of these are very doable!
Kim Tanti says
I walk every morning with the dog. If I wait till afternoon I get buisy and will not do it.