Wellness

Your daily guide to heart health by the hour

From flossing your teeth to getting busy, follow this daily schedule to ensure you're fitting in plenty of heart-healthy activities on the regular.

Photo by Mimi Haddon/ Getty Images

(Photo by Mimi Haddon/Getty Images)

7 a.m. Floss: It’s not only good for your social health: Gum disease increases your chances of heart disease. Researchers think that bacteria running amok in your mouth can travel through the body and cause inflammation elsewhere.

8 a.m. Eat breakfast: Start the day with some fibre-rich steel-cut oatmeal topped with antioxidant packed blueberries; both are linked to heart health.

9 a.m. Pop a pill: Take fish-oil supplements for heart-helpful omega-3s, but skip the daily Aspirin: Despite popular belief, it’s not recommended for healthy premenopausal women and can increase your risk of internal bleeding.

10 a.m. Take the stairs: Squeeze bursts of exercise into your daily routine and skip the elevator. A few fast flights will get your blood moving and your heart pumping.

11 a.m. Breathe deep: Try this at your desk: Sit up straight, close your eyes, take several deep breaths and try to clear your mind. Breathing exercises can decrease stress and improve blood flow.

12 p.m. Eat vegetarian: Eating more vegetables and less meat lowers your risk of heart disease. Go for colour: Dark greens and bright oranges pack the most powerful punch. Throw in some beans or other legumes (which are loaded with fibre) and toss your salad with vinaigrette that includes olive oil (a healthy fat).

1 p.m. Go for an afternoon walk: When you feel the post-lunch lull coming on, get outside. A five-minute walk helps you de-stress, and the sunshine will boost your vitamin D, which may help your heart health.

2 p.m. Grab a java: Good news! Your coffee fix isn’t going to hurt you and may actually reduce your risk of dying of heart disease, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.

3 p.m. Savour some dark chocolate: The delectable treat is proven to reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure.

4 p.m. Eat popcorn: Popcorn is a whole grain, and upping your consumption of whole grains is great for your heart. (Just skip the butter and salt.)

5 p.m. Hit the gym: Getting your heart rate up does more than keep your arteries in shape; it lowers stress levels too, so it’s a double winner that helps prevent the need for a double bypass.

7 p.m. Rock out: According to researchers at the University of Maryland, listening to music that you love is good for your heart, helping to dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow. (Just be careful if your favourite tunes make your family cringe: Music that causes stress can have the opposite effect.)

8 p.m. Watch a sitcom: Okay, being a couch potato isn’t going to help your heart, but laughing will: It’s an excellent stress reliever and actually improves blood flow.

9 p.m. Strike a pose: In a study at Yale University, people who practised yoga three times a week significantly reduced their blood pressure, heart rate and BMI after only six weeks.

10 p.m. Get it on: The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada recommends exercise that hits three areas: strength, flexibility and endurance. And we can’t think of a better way to get all three than to give your heart, and sweetheart, a workout.

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