Make every day better, even Monday, with these easy heart-health tips

Just when you thought Monday couldn’t suck any more than it already does, it turns out that more heart attacks happen on Monday than any other day of the week. Ugh!

The good news: These 3 easy tips can help you avoid heart failure not just on Mondays, but on every day of the week.

Your heart’s exercise

You can’t lift weights with your heart, but you CAN help it stay in shape by doing some cardiovascular exercise. Your ticker is a muscle, after all.

That’s why guys who walk five blocks a day lower their risk of heart attack by 25 percent. Walking IS cardio exercise! A brisk 30-minute stroll burns around 250 calories, and can slide into your day like a hot knife into butter. Walk your kids to school instead of driving, for instance, or walk to work from a more distant parking lot. Take an invigorating stroll to get coffee or lunch, then use the stairs instead of the elevator. Hoofing it up stairs burns a third more calories than regular walking, after all.

Out with the bad grub, in with the good

Fruits and vegetables are like kryptonite to heart attacks. Filling your plate with these healthy morsels lowers your risk by about 30 per cent, and dropping pounds by eating healthier does likewise.

The World Health Organisation recommends eating 5 servings of fruit and veggies each day to keep heart disease at bay, while Canada’s Food Guide encourages a similar daily menu. What does a serving look like? Check it out! 

At the same time, it’s no coincidence that fruits and vegetables are low in salt, fat and added sugar. Those are the exact same ingredients that can cause heart problems! By swapping fast food and vending machine junk for juicy fruit and crisp veggies, you get the double the heart benefits. Salad instead of fries with your burger? Yes please! A yummy banana instead of a day-old doughnut? Just do it! And to top it all off, the healthier stuff costs less and tastes great!

Get checked on the regular

A doctor needs to check your blood pressure at least once every two years. Blood pressure is a measure of how much force your heart is using to pump blood around your body, and it can vary throughout the day and change from day to day. It can also change according to your activity levels, posture and emotions. These changes are normal if your blood pressure is within the healthy range: 120-over-80 or thereabouts.

An overly high blood pressure is another story, and that’s where your doctor comes in. When it stays above 140-over-90, it may lead to strokes and heart attacks, as well as kidney failure, dementia and sexual problems like erectile dysfunction. The good news: these issues can be prevented if high blood pressure is controlled.

In between doctor’s appointments, many pharmacies have blood pressure machines you can use to track your own BP for free. Give them a try — although they shouldn’t replace a doctor visit.

So there you have it: Taking these easy steps to live healthier can make Monday suck a little bit less. Now that’s progress!

What’s your favourite day of the week and why? Share the joy with your buddies in the comments below!

About the Author

Adam Bisby

Adam Bisby

Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two. His award-winning stories have appeared in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post newspapers, in magazines like Explore, Reader's Digest, International Traveller and Canadian Family, and on websites including MSN.com and DontChangeMuch.ca.

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