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Surprising Ways to Take Care of Your Heart

girl running
(phto by mikebaird, flickr)

Exercise LESS? Here is some interesting advice from cardiologists:

You try to eat right, work out, even medidate when you can…so you shouldn’t have to worry about your heart, right? Wrong!

Believe it or not, even so-called ‘healthy’ choices can actually wreak havoc on your heart!

Follow these tips that cardiologists give THEIR friends:

1. Go Easy With the Exercise. New research shows that running 20 – 25 miles-per-week can age your heart! Excessive effort repeated over and over again overstretches the muscles and can cause micro-tears (which are often seen in marathon runners.) Doctors recommend no more than four miles, four days per week.

2. Try Not to Wake Up Before 5 a.m. Most people’s internal clocks reset around 5 a.m. If you wake up before that, your stress hormones surge, which is the reason that most heart attacks occur at three or four in the morning.

3. Any Soda is Too Much Soda. Although most of us think a little soda can’t hurt, doctors say that’s not true. A can of regular soda contains the equivalent of 14 teaspoons of liquid sugar which is easily absorbed into your body and can result in low leverls of HDL — the protective cholesterol that prevents heart attacks.

4. Think Twice About Throwing Surprise Parties. For many women, we already know to NOT try and surprise a very-pregnant woman with a party, but that’s actually true for ALL of us. Shock can temporarily impair the heart’s ability to function. One poor woman even wound up in the ICU after well-meaning friends threw her a big bash! Doctors say it’s probably not a bad idea to tell your friends and family you’d rather not have everyone you know jump out in the dark at you, lol!

5. Trust Your Gut. Doctors say that women don’t usually experience crushing chest pain like men. If something feels funny or wrong — even if there are no symptoms — listen to your body and call 9-1-1.

6. Pack Your Bags and Take a Vacation. Doctors say everyone needs to recharge their batteries and you NEED vacation time. Stress hormones like cortisol build up if you don’t take time away from the daily grind. And if you’re working more than 11 hours a day, it can increase your odds of having a heart attack by 67 percent! (but doesn’t being a mom require even more hours than that?!)

7. Don’t Use the Pill Past 40. Doctors say that estrogen has the potential to damage your heart and birth control pills can lead to blood clots, heart attack or stroke.

This advice comes from cardiologists at Johns Hopkins, St. Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, and Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center.


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