Summertime Heart Health

Days get longer and the nights are shorter, the outside temperature fluctuates from the 50s to 80s, and sunshine is abounding.  Perfect conditions in a perfect place – the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Although research suggests heart attack and heart attack symptoms are less prevalent in the summer, those with underlying heart conditions need to maintain healthy heart habits during this time of year. Those without a heart condition can benefit by following a few simple tips to stay heart healthy.

The following is a list of tips to keep your heart healthy during the summer:

  1. Eat healthy
    • Use the grill to cook up some heart-healthy foods
    • Fish (salmon, tuna, herring) 2x per week
      • Low calorie Omega-3 fatty acids
      • Can cut the risk of fatal heart disease by 36%
    • Cut trans fats
      • Packaged snacks and baked goods, fried fast foods, and margarine
      • Leads to heart disease/stroke
      • Increases LDL (bad cholesterol); decreases HDL (good cholesterol)
    • Increase fresh fruits and vegetables
      • 4.5 cups per day
      • Phytonutrients – may reduce the risk of heart disease & certain cancers
      • Antioxidants – help reduce fat buildup on artery walls
  2. Move your workout/activities outdoors
    • Vitamin D may protect against heart disease
    • 150 minutes per week
    • Avoid the heat of the day
    • Walking, gardening, cycling
    • Lowers blood pressure, improves heart rate, improves mood and sleep
  3. Hydrate
    • Before, during, after workouts or outdoor activities
    • Add a slice of fruit for flavor
    • Can help maintain a healthy weight
    • Too much alcohol and caffeine can contribute to dehydration
  4. Socialize
    • Day at the beach, walking/cycling groups, backyard BBQs
    • Maintain social distancing and handwashing
    • Use technology (ZOOM & SKYPE) for long-distance socialization
    • Can lower stress levels, keeping you more relaxed
  5. Get enough sleep
    • Challenge with socializing more; long days/shorter nights
    • Recommend 6-8 hours per night
    • Less than 6 hours of sleep per night puts you at risk for developing heart disease, no matter your age or health habits
  6. Coronavirus influence
    • Can cause inflammation of the heart muscle
    • COVID-19 has been shown to cause heart damage
    • More fatal in those with underlying heart conditions
    • Be mindful of your surroundings, and respect others

References

Seven Ways to Keep your Heart Healthy This Summer

Summertime Heart Smarts

Guard your heat during the dog days of summer

Keep your heart healthy during the summer heat

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