Health brief: Take care of your ticker this summer
August is the month readily described as “the dog days of summer.”
As temperatures continue to reach high levels and we’re becoming more active, it’s important to remember what keeps us going: the heart.
According to leading cardiologists, warmer temperatures already place an immense strain on the heart as it works harder and beats faster in order to keep the body cool. People with heart conditions don’t always adapt as easily, increasing their risk for heat stroke. On top of that, some prescribed medications, like beta blockers or diuretics, can further deplete the amount of water in the body, causing the heart to work even faster.
That’s why it’s important to look after yourself and take the necessary steps to improve your heart health. Many of the tricks are simple and don’t require much planning. One of the easiest things to do while it’s hot is to be mindful of the foods you’re putting in your body. While summer tends to be all cookouts and barbecues, foods high in cholesterol and sodium are the last things we should regularly put into our bodies. Sodium sucks out the much-needed water from our cells in an attempt to put less strain on the heart.
Eating a healthier diet also helps keep blood pressure and weight in check all of which makes your ticker work a little easier despite the hot temperatures.
Also, pairing a healthy diet with any sort of exercise, even if it’s going for a 30-minute walk will aid in improving your heart’s overall function. If you can find a cool pool just to wade in, your heart rate goes up, but it’s better in the long run. Finally, with life a bit more laid-back in the summer, taking the time to decompress and relax is one of the best ways to ensure you’re doing your heart a favor. Electronic devices go off and your mind goes on. All of these things, despite the temperatures, can mean you’re giving your heart some love.
Sources: UHHospitals.org; American Senior Communities
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